“I URGE the community to download the COVIDSafe app to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The app will be most effective if a large percentage of our local population uses it.”

That is the message from Bass Coast Health (BCH) CEO Jan Child.

“The COVIDSafe app helps find close contacts of COVID-19 cases. The app helps state and territory health officials to quickly contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19,” she said.

This speeds up the current manual process of finding people who have been in contact with someone with COVID-19.

“This means you’ll be contacted more quickly if you are at risk. This also reduces the chances of you passing on the virus to your family, friends and other people in the community,” Ms Child said.

Ms Child reassured the community the app was safe to use.

“State and territory health officials can only access app information if someone tests positive and agrees to the information in their phone being uploaded,” she said.

“The health officials can only use the app information to help alert those who may need to be quarantined or get tested.”

Whilst the new COVIDSafe app is voluntary, Ms Child urged the community to appreciate the app’s benefits.

“Downloading the app is something you can do to protect yourself, your family and friends, our patients, and save the lives of other Australians,” she said.

“The more Australians [who] connect to the COVIDSafe app, the quicker we can find the virus.”

At the end of the Australian COVID-19 pandemic, users will be prompted to delete the COVIDSafe app from their phone. This will delete all app information on a person’s phone. The information contained in the information storage system will also be destroyed at the end of the pandemic.

 

How does the app work?

 

The app securely logs the encrypted reference codes of devices of other people who are using the app who have been in close proximity to you.

The close contact information can only be accessed by health officials if there has been a positive case to help alert those who may need to be tested.

The app will never track your location.

The app detects if you have been in close contact with someone (approximately 1.5 metres) for 15 minutes or more.

The app only notifies close contacts in the last 21 days.

The average incubation period for someone who contracts COVID-19 is typically five to six days, however, the World Health Organisation currently estimates the incubation period can be up to 14 days.

The app uses a rolling 21-day window to allow for the maximum 14-day incubation period and the time taken to confirm a positive test result.

If the user deletes the app, all contact information is deleted.

The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

More information online.