May 6, 2020

COVIDSafe App – Download to keep the community safe

The COVIDSafe app helps find close contacts of COVID-19 cases and will speed up the current manual process of finding people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19.

The Commonwealth has said that widespread use of the app is a precondition of relaxing some of the physical distancing restrictions currently in place.

While the COVIDSafe app is completely voluntary, Northern Health staff are encouraged to download the app to help keep our community safe.

Over the last week, the entire COVID-19 Incident Management Team have downloaded the COVIDSafe App to their mobile phones.

“The app helps the Department of Health to quickly contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19, and inform you if you have a risk of infection. It will help monitor possible outbreaks in the community, as restrictions are gradually relaxed,” said Dr Christian McGrath, Clinical Lead, COVID-19 Response.

He believes that the app is completely safe to use.

“The app itself doesn’t collect data about yourself or where you are going. What it does is identify when you’ve been moving within 1.5 metres of someone else who has the app on their phone.”

The information is encrypted and that encrypted identifier is stored securely on your phone. Not even you can access it. The contact information stored on people’s mobiles is deleted on a 21-day rolling cycle.

“When the Department of Health has a confirmed case, they seek permission from that person to download the data. This will provide a phone log of people you’ve been in the vicinity of and inform them that they are now a close contact and recommend quarantine. That way they can clamp down really early on outbreaks and not have to rely on people’s memories,” Dr McGrath said.

You can learn more and download the app here.

Photo: Members of the COVID-19 Incident Management Team who have all downloaded the COVIDSafe app.