Coronavirus: Launch of the “COVID Care App” in the Canton of Basel-Stadt
Department of Health
Today, the Department of Health is launching an app to care for people who are isolating because they are infected with Covid-19 (coronavirus). The app can also be used for quarantine support for contact persons. Use of the app is voluntary. The app does not have a tracking function.
As of Monday, 4 May 2020, 958 residents of the Canton of Basel-Stadt had tested positive for the respiratory infection COVID-19. Ill people who do not require hospitalisation are being cared for by staff of the Medical Services of the Department of Health. Currently, 16 people with COVID-19 are in isolation and 14 contact persons are in quarantine, where they must remain for at least 10 days. Some of them (at-risk patients) are receiving daily telephone contact and support from the cantonal medical service.
Purpose of the app
Together with an external partner, the Department of Health has developed the “COVID Care App” in order to modernise and simplify care of people in isolation, both for the people affected and for the staff of the Department of Health. This means that the Canton of Basel-Stadt is prepared for the intensified contact tracing that will be required from the middle of May, in a modern way.
The app does not have a tracking function and it is not a movement app. All it does is ensure simpler and more modern communication between the medical care team from the cantonal medical team and the patient. Head of the Department of Health Lukas Engelberger says: “The COVID Care App is a big step along the way to client-friendly support of people in isolation and quarantine. It is an important and supportive tool for the time ahead, when we have to get used to coronavirus in our everyday lives.”
The app was developed together with the firm KPMG and can be made available to other cantons if they are interested. Lukas Engelberger: “I would like to thank KPMG for the straightforward collaboration on the realisation of the app.” Marc-André Giger, Sector Head of Public Sector at KPMG: “Our overview of Switzerland shows that Basel-Stadt has done pioneering work with the app. We are convinced that this solution will enable us to make a valuable contribution to looking after ill people and to relieving the burden on the healthcare system. And initial reactions from abroad reveal that the Canton of Basel-Stadt’s app is also attracting a lot of interest beyond our national borders.”
Using the app is voluntary
Using the app for making contact and for care in cases of infection or quarantine is voluntary. People who do not want to be registered for the app will still be contacted by telephone. From today, the Department of Health will be contacting affected persons to offer them the option of using the app. If affected persons would like to receive support from the Department of Health via the app in future, login details will be sent by the cantonal medical service. If this is the case, the person will receive a notification every day with a request to complete a health questionnaire. Furthermore, the patient can also request to be contacted using the Contact field.
The first contact will still be made by telephone in the case of a new infection.
Contact tracing using the app
Since 22 April 2020, the Department of Health has been tracing the close contacts of people who have tested positive for coronavirus, upon initial contact with them. These close contacts are also directly contacted by telephone and given instructions about quarantine measures. Members of the same household and intimate contacts are currently considered to be close contacts.