GPs ask people to use app to help track and slow down coronavirus

GPs across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are urging people to use technology to help track and slow down the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Researchers at Kings College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust launched the free COVID Symptom Tracker, which allows people to share vital information about their health. This real-time data will be used to study the virus and help health and care workers develop their response to the outbreak.

The app, developed in partnership with health science company ZOE Global Ltd, was endorsed by GPs and clinicians of NHS Kernow's clinical cabinet, yesterday.

It is also backed by Cornwall Council’s public health professionals.

The app helps identify possible coronavirus infections by asking people to sign-up and then take one minute each day to self-report symptoms, even if they feel well, in an attempt to better understand the pandemic.

To date 10,346 people across Cornwall have contributed to the research with an estimated 1 percent of people with coronavirus symptoms.

Dr Iain Chorlton, NHS Kernow chairman, said: “The more people who sign up to this app the better we will understand how to respond to the virus in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

“It gives us advanced warning of potential increase in demand, so we can flex and adapt our services to cope. This will be even more important once any lockdown measures are relaxed as COVID-19 is not going away soon and we will want to spot any upturn in an outbreak as soon as possible.”

Rachel Wigglesworth, Cornwall’s assistant director for Public Health, said: "I’d urge anyone with a smartphone to download the app and help us to learn more about this disease, and how many people in Cornwall are being affected. It takes a small amount of time, about one minute a day, and could really help us to learn more about the virus and provide early warning to our health and care system of new outbreaks.”

Fact file

You should not leave your home if you have coronavirus symptoms. Symptoms include:

  • A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot more for an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places such as a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

Use 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do and only call 111 if you do not have access to the internet or cannot get help online.