Good afternoon everybody it’s NickCoatsworth here with today’s top three and today I’m gonna make a big shout outto anyone who downloaded the COVIDSafe app since it was released at 6pm lastnight.
The response of Australians has been fantastic to downloading this and Iknow that all of you are committed towards getting us through this.
I’d like to shout out also to people who are considering downloading the app andalso of course I’m gonna shout out to people who don’t want to download theapp as well.
Because that’s very much your individual choice and I know thatthere as a community we’re all doing what we need to do to help keep eachother safe, our friends and family from COVID-19.
So, there you go I’ve justshout it out to the entire community of Australia.
Well done everybody, let’s talk the app and today I’m going to do something a little bit unusualbecause this is so important, I’m going to be reading a little bit from my notes.
how does the COVIDSafe app work and does it tell us if we’renear somebody who has the virus? So, no.
The COVIDSafe app doesn’t tell you ifyou’re near someone who has the virus and there’s a very good reason forthat.
That would be a real breach of someone’s own confidentiality as someonewho had COVID-19.
It doesn’t do that.
It actually speeds up the existing processwhere we want to find contacts of people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Soit actually helps our state and territory disease detectives in theirwork which when you get diagnosed with COVID-19 involves calling everybody thatyou can possibly remember up to see if they were potentially a contact and tolet them know that they need to monitor as well.
So it makes this process quicker, it makes it more precise and it helps us with our memories if we’re someone who’sbeen diagnosed with COVID-19 because I don’t know about you but certainly atthe moment asking me who I’ve been in contact with for greater than 15 minutesover the past two weeks, I would absolutely struggle with that.
And ofcourse speed is of the essence, because when we want to make our strategystamping any COVID outbreaks as quick as wepossibly can, anything that speeds up that process isgoing to be really really important.
So how does it work? Now I’ll tell you, I’vedownloaded the app, I did it at about five past six last night and as you goabout your day or as I go about my day, Bluetooth is enabled and it willactually look out for other phones that also had COVIDSafe on it.
When itrecognises another COVIDSafe user, the app is going to note the date, the time, the distance and the duration of the contact and the other users referencecode.
But here’s the thing, COVIDSafe does not locate you, does not geolocateyou where that contact was actually made.
And in fact all that contact informationis encrypted and it’s stored locally on your phone.
It doesn’t sort of go offinto a central database at all unless you tell it to.
So that’s a reallyimportant thing but there’s two levels of confidentiality and consent I guesshere.
There’s the consent that we give when we download the app and thenthere’s the consent we give to share that data if a public health officialactually calls us.
So the contact information is then deleted on a 21-dayrolling cycle so it’s a bit like a closed-circuit TV or dash cam or somethinglike that that has sort of limited memory and then just deletes because we don’t need to know which users you’re in contact with after the 21 days.
And the 21 days takes into account the incubation period of 14 days and thetime that might take to get tested.
So none of that contact information isdisclosed or able to be accessed until you are diagnosed if you are diagnosedwith COVID-19 and then you provide the consent to the State or Territory HealthDepartment doesn’t go to the Commonwealth, only goes to the State andTerritory Health Department.
And remember, it’s only for people who you had closecontact with.
So that’s the people who were within 1.
5 metres of you for 15minutes or more during that 21 day cycle.
Second question for Dr Nick, if a personwho brushes past me at the shop coughs and keeps walking, will the app recordthis? Well I think the first thing to say toanswer that question is that is a really unlikely, like vanishingly unlikely, wayof contracting COVID-19.
Measles it’s a different story becausethat’s much more transmissible and you could potentially get something likemeasles from that sort of interaction.
But COVID-19 no, it’s notthat transmissible and that’s why we put the time limit on the close contact ofanything more than 15 minutes.
And so by definition then the app that helps ustrace that contacts won’t record that sort of casual contact.
It probablywouldn’t even ping on the phone, I don’t know the the details of the technologybehind it but I’d be really surprised if that could even even register.
So, remembering though that COVIDSafe, it’s not about working out every singlecasual contact, it’s about working out the close contact and it’s just oneof our tools that we’ve got available to help our disease detectives.
But theother tools that we use are also our physical distancing from one another, ourhand hygiene, our great cough etiquette and staying at home when we’ve got anysort of symptom of a cough or a cold or a respiratory tract infection.
Third question, what happens if I’m diagnosed with coronavirus and I use the app? Okay, so if you get diagnosed with COVID-19 and you you have COVIDSafe on yourphone, basically the process is actually exactly the same as if you didn’t haveCOVIDSafe, there’s only one important difference.
So the process is this: youget the swab, you get a positive result and that automatically goes to the Stateor Territory Public Health Unit as a notifiable disease and then the diseasedetective picks up the phone and calls you and starts asking you who you mighthave been in contact with for more than 15 minutes.
And there’s another criteria there of course, it’s within two hours in a closedconfined space, that’s the second close contact definition.
But then they’ll ask you if you are, whether you’ve got COVIDSafe andwhether you’re prepared to release that data.
Now down the bottom of the app, youcan have a little bit of a play with it if it’s on the phone, you can find thebutton that actually provides consent to release your encrypted data.
Whenyou provide that consent all those people, only the numbersactually, only the numbers of the people, not the people themselves but thenumbers of the people go to the State and Territory Public Health Units andthen they can go through them.
So basically, it’s the icing on the cake ofthe process.
You’ve already told them everybody that you can remember and thenCOVIDSafe might give another, I don’t know, five or ten people.
But imagine ifthat’s the bit that actually shuts down that transmission chain.
That’s why theicing on the cake is so important to help control COVID-19.
Now, healthofficials won’t tell anyone that you’ve had contact with, that it was you that hadCOVID-19, that’s not the object of contact tracing at all, that’s not how how itworks.
And the last thing to remember is thatif you do have coronavirus, the app continues to gather information for afurther 14 days to ensure that there is, any other close contacts areidentified.
But remembering that if you if you are in that situation, you’ll bein self isolation at home hopefully, because your symptoms are mild andyou’re okay.
So that broadly speaking, is is all about COVIDSafe.
We’re happy to take your questions on this one and it’s a really importantthing obviously from our perspective as health professionals anddisease detectives to get as many people as we can possibly get ontothis app.
So if you have questions pop them on the Facebook website, the guyshave put them through to me and I’ll answer them for you.