MUSC and DHEC release app designed to slow the spread of COVID-19

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- MUSC and the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) have created a new way to help fight COVID-19, right from your smartphone. It’s a new app that some of the brightest minds in the medical and the tech sectors are working on, and it has the ability to save lives.

The new technology, invented by Google and Apple, aims to improve contact tracing and better understand and track the spread of COVID-19.

“What the app is going to add to that is a layer of detection of social mobility.”

Dr. Jeff Korte, MUSC

The goal is to identify all of the people who are ‘positive’ for the virus and isolate them, even if they are only exhibiting mild symptoms, to prevent future outbreaks.

Dr. Jeff Korte, the Associate Professor of Epidemiology at MUSC says the app harnesses social technology to track precisely how COVID-19 travels. Using bluetooth technology, the app tracks where users go, and can identify when a person crosses paths with someone who has tested positive for the virus, while keeping specific identities anonymous.

“The system will sort everything together and find out who was in contact with whom, and can give each individual who opts in a report about how many contacts they had, it can give advice if they are having too many contacts.”

Dr. Jeff Korte, MUSC

Contact Tracing is something Governor Henry McMaster said in a press conference Wednesday is crucial to recovery coming out of this pandemic.

“As you know, when this virus hit, the virus was chasing us, but now we are turning the tables and we are chasing the virus, and we have a plan of testing, of contact tracing and testing that is superior and we know it will be effective.”

Governor Henry McMaster

This app is just another piece of the puzzle of keeping people in the know about the virus, and how it is transmitted. As far as privacy concerns, the app is ‘opt-in’ and keeps the identify of the app user private. The app will be free, and they hope it will be available within the next month.

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