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Several weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, Americans continue to struggle with finding COVID-19 test kits and testing sites in their areas. This lack of testing essentials has bio-firms across the country racing to manufacture test kits needed to diagnose, treat and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The barriers citizens face when trying to get tested have become increasingly evident with each celebrity or famous figure who goes public with their positive COVID-19 results. If you need to go to the hospital or doctor’s office for any reason, tap or click here for an app that can help you avoid coronavirus exposure.
Until test kits are readily available, Apple and the Centers for Disease Control have joined forces to bring you the COVID-19 screening app and website. Based on guidance from the CDC, this set of resources offers up-to-date information for people across the United States. Here’s a closer look at how this tool can help.
What is the COVID-19 app?
The free COVID-19 app, available for iOS mobile devices, requires you to respond to a series of questions about risk factors, symptoms and recent exposure for yourself or a loved one. Once you complete the questionnaire, you receive CDC recommendations on what steps you should follow, including guidance on:
- Social distancing and self-isolating.
- How to monitor symptoms.
- Whether an immediate test is recommended.
- When to contact a medical provider.
Note: The COVID-19 screening tool is intended to be a resource for individuals and does not replace instructions from healthcare providers or guidance from state or local health authorities.
Neither the app nor the website requires an account or association with your Apple ID. Your responses will be kept private and secure, and will not be sent to Apple or any government organization.
How it works
The app is straightforward to use. First, download and install the COVID-19 app from the Apple Store.
After opening the app, you can either read the information on COVID-19 and related topics by tapping one of the options in the bottom section or click Start Screening to begin the screening process. Select whether the test is for you or a loved one and if you have any of the listed symptoms, then tap Next.
The app will direct you to call 911 if your symptoms indicate there is an emergency medical need. If you or the person you’re inquiring about does not have an emergency issue, tap “I do not have any of these” and continue the survey to completion.
In addition to signs and symptoms, the COVID-19 app takes a look at other risk factors, including your working environment and whether you have been exposed to the coronavirus. To help reduce your risk outside the home, experts suggest you wear a face mask. Tap or click for DIY coronavirus face mask ideas.
If your responses indicate you are at low risk, the app suggests you practice social distancing through home quarantine and that you monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. The app explains a test is not warranted at this time.
What if your answers reveal you are at high risk for the coronavirus? The app recommends you take four steps, including contacting your physician and self-isolating.
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The COVID-19 website
If you’d rather access the COVID-19 screening tool online, visit apple.com/covid19/. This site offers identical information as the iOS app, but it allows those without iOS devices access to the questionnaire and resources about the coronavirus and related topics.
To use the website, choose Start Screening and follow the same steps outlined above.
While the app and website are not considered tests by health or government authorities, the screening tool provides a streamlined way to help determine your risk level and what steps you should take.
As a mountain of data and confusion surround COVID-19, this venture between Apple and the United States government, CDC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency is a step in the right direction.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.