Residents of North Yorkshire are being encouraged to download the new NHS Test and Trace app which launches across the country on 24 September.
North Yorkshire CCG Governing Body GP, Dr Bruce Willoughby said ‘While cases of Covid-19 in North Yorkshire are not as high as in some other areas of the country we know that there are pockets of infection around the county and in addition cases are on the rise again nationally. This app will be another tool in the NHS toolkit to effectively trace the contacts of infected individuals and encourage self isolation to stem the spread and try to prevent the local lockdown measures that we are seeing elsewhere in the country.’
Those who download the app onto their smartphone will be able to scan a code when they enter restaurants, pubs, shops, hotels and other venues which will register them as being at that location. If a person at that venue is subsequently diagnosed with Covid-19 all those who have been within close range will automatically be contacted via the app and asked to self isolate – this is particularly useful in places where you do not know the people around you such as in hospitality settings. The app also allows users to report Covid symptoms and order a test. It will also help the NHS to understand where and how quickly the virus is spreading in order to take further action when needed.
There have been anxieties about the possible lack of anonymity associated with the use of the app but the NHS reassure the public that no one including the Government will know the identity or location of app users. The app will not track individuals or their location but will request the first part of your postcode when you register – this part of the postcode will be common to an average of around 8000 households. The app is also not able to access any contacts on your phone nor will it track you or check if you are self-isolating.
There is more information on the CCG website at: https://www.northyorkshireccg.nhs.uk/home/lifestyle-self-care/ and you can also find answers to some Frequently Asked Questions.
Dr Willoughby concluded ‘we encourage all residents in North Yorkshire to use the NHS Test and Trace app as the higher the take up the more successful it will be in suppressing the virus. It gives us the chance to do our bit to protect ourselves and those around us and also to help in the national effort to move beyond Covid-19 and move back to a more normal life.’