SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, April 22, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Gov. Gary Herbert has announced the public beta testing phase for Healthy Together, a symptom checking mobile application that helps augment current contact tracing efforts for COVID-19.
The app is designed to help Utahns work in concert with public health officials to slow the spread of COVID-19, said a news release from the Office of the Governor.
“In conjunction with state efforts to continue increasing testing capacity for COVID-19, Healthy Together will increase the ability of health workers and state officials to trace and contain COVID-19,” the news release said.
“Healthy Together’s mobile application and analysis technology will support Utah’s contact tracing plan by giving state health workers a faster and more accurate picture of where and how the virus is spreading.”
Utahns can download and test the first iteration of the mobile application through the Google and Apple app stores starting Wednesday.
“Our Utah Department of Health is focused on targeted ways we can trace the spread of COVID-19.,” Herbert said. “The more Utahns choose to use this application, the more clearly our public health teams will be able to see exactly where, and whom the virus is infecting.
“In time, this will allow us to address outbreaks with a focused approach instead of widespread stay-at-home directives. This app will give public health workers information they need to understand and contain the pandemic and help Utahns get back to daily life.”
“Testing and contact tracing are crucial to any public health response, and especially to a pandemic response,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, state epidemiologist. “I am hopeful this app will provide our hard-working contact tracing teams with even more information to help them do their jobs effectively and efficiently.”
Healthy Together, an app developed by the founders of Twenty, prompts users to take a daily symptom assessment developed in partnership with the Utah Department of Health and integrated into the mobile application. When the app identifies someone in need of COVID-19 testing, it helps connect them with testing in their area. Test results are also available through the app.
When a person tests positive for COVID-19, he or she is contacted by a public health worker, who helps to identify close contacts who could have potentially been exposed to the virus, the news release said.
App users who choose to share their data will help Utah public health workers understand where they may have spread the virus if they test positive. All personal information in the app is anonymous to everyone except public health, the news release said.
“Developing a platform that can augment and amplify the existing efforts of healthcare workers to control the spread of this pandemic is a tremendous, yet critical challenge,” said Jared Allgood Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer at Twenty. “Healthy Together was designed to increase both the accuracy and scale of the information available for analysis, while providing privacy and security to the data of every person who participates in Utah’s fight against COVID-19.
“We’re grateful to help and committed to Utah’s effort to eliminate this threat and re-open our businesses, neighborhoods and communities safely.”
The app is free to download, and use of the app is strictly opt-in and voluntary. Users own their location data and can delete it at any time. Personal data shared with public health officials will be used solely to combat COVID-19. Location data will be automatically deleted every 30 days, and symptom data will be automatically de-identified after 30 days. Healthy Together complies with state requirements for data security and encryption.