McGrath welcomes improvements to COVID-19 app.
SDLP Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath has welcomed changes to the Covid App following his request which will introduce a number of vital improvements.
The South Down MLA said: “Following my own experience with self isolation after a close contact, I wrote to Minister Swann last month urging him to update the track and trace app to provide a definitive date in which a person’s isolation could end.
“Given that the app stores every contact a person has had for the past 14 days, it has been possible for people to be alerted about close contact with a positive case many days after they actually last had contact with the person.
“In such cases there is no need to isolate for 14 days from the alert, but rather 14 days from the last contact. To date the app has been unable to do this and blankly gave a 14-day isolation period from the time of the alert.”
Colin McGrath added: “It was my view that this would be helpful and encourage more people to download the app and comply with it. This is particularly important for those who could not work from home and only received statutory sick pay, as it could potentially reduce the number of days isolating.”
“I am delighted that following my written request and probing at the Health Committee, these important improvements to the app have been made and an updated version will be available for download at the end of this month.”
“The track and trace app is a key tool in the fightback against COVID-19 and it is vital it is as effective as possible. I am pleased that these updates have been made and encourage everyone to download the app and play your part in saving lives.”
StopCOVID NI App just got smarter
Health Minister Robin Swann has announced that the StopCOVID NI App will soon provide individualised recommended end date for self-isolation.
The updated version of the App will be released before the end of November and will confirm the date when a user’s self-isolation period will end.
Welcoming the new development, the Minister said: “The balance has been between privacy and precision – we now have enough users of the app, and sufficient numbers of positive test results, to make this information available via the app, without compromising anonymity.
“Feedback though our app support line, indicates a public appetite for greater precision in the period of self-isolation, relating the advice to the date of their actual ‘close contact’ with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.”
“This will mean that, rather than isolating for 14 days from receiving the notification, those who are alerted will be given the date when their contact occurred and when their isolation period can end.
“For example, if an alert relates to a contact with an infected person that took place 5 days ago, your end-date for isolation will be 9 days from receiving the notification (14 days from when the contact occurred).”
The Minister added: “Quality assurance testing of the new version of the app, which incorporates features available through the API produced by Google and Apple, is presently underway.
“Once testing is completed, and subject to successful conclusion of discussions with the Information Commissioners’ Office it is planned to release version 2.3 to the app stores later this month.”