February 23, 2024

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Washington State’s Exposure Notification Tool Averts COVID-19 Cases

Washington researchers and the Washington State Department of Health conducted a modelling study of the free tool. They developed secure and anonymous smartphone-based exposure notification tools that aim to reduce COVID-19 transmission and supplement traditional case investigation and contact tracing systems. The study found that nearly one-third of all smartphone users in the state activated the WA Notify app, which sends alerts to users if proximity data suggests they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

When WA Notify was launched last year, it was a new digital public health tool representing an opportunity to help control COVID-19 in Washington. Currently, preliminary evidence shows the value of WA Notif and has a new tool to add to our public health toolbox for managing pandemics.

Due to the constraints of privacy preservation and anonymised data, aggregate metrics and disparate data sources were utilised to estimate the number of COVID-19 cases averted based on a modelling approach. The researchers utilise the following parameters: number of notifications generated; the probability that a notified individual goes on to become a case; expected fraction of transmissions preventable by strict quarantine after notification; actual adherence to quarantine; and expected size of the full transmission chain if a contact had not been notified.

The study ran from Nov. 30, 2020, to March 31, 2021, which was also the highest peak of COVID-19 cases in the state, according to Health Department officials. During that period, the state experienced nearly 200,000 new cases, more than 8,500 hospitalizations and almost 2,500 deaths. More than 14,000 users who received a positive COVID-19 test used the app to report that result.

The model shows that 6240 cases were averted statewide during the first four months of its implementation. Based on an estimated COVID-19 case fatality of 1.4%, WA Notify saved 30-120 lives during the study period.

WA Notify could then use location data to identify other users who may have been exposed to the COVID-positive individuals and alert them to the risk. To make the tool broadly available, the Department of Health translated messages into 30 languages for in-app use and more than 36 languages for web pages, social media and other marketing efforts.

The findings demonstrate the potential value of exposure notification tools as a novel public health intervention to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. As new variants emerge and non-essential travel bans are lifted, exposure notification tools may continue to play a valuable role in limiting the spread of COVID-19.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 infections, U.S. researchers have been creating many tools to mitigate the crisis. As reported by OpenGov Asia, U.S. researchers have developed an interactive web application that illustrates the connections between human mobility, government policies, and cases of COVID-19. The app aims to better understand the relationships between human mobility, government policies and cases of COVID-19.

The app was built with data from three independent sources:  a map, which provides data on human movement via walking, driving and public transportation; COVID-19 Government Response Tracker, which provides data on government policies implemented during the pandemic; and global cases of COVID-19. Users can select a specific state or county in the U.S. as well as another country and see how mobility and COVID-19 cases changed over time or in response to government policies or social circumstances.

Although the application is specific to the pandemic, the framework could be modified rather easily to create a similar application for natural disasters as long as appropriate data sets are available. Understanding historic mobility patterns are needed for policymakers to make informed decisions regarding transportation systems and other areas both under normal circumstances and in response to extreme events like a pandemic or a natural disaster.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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