(DENVER) April 17, 2020: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has launched a short survey designed to track symptoms of COVID-19, even if the person experiencing symptoms is unable or does not need to get a test. Although the data collected using this survey cannot replace official case data confirmed by testing, it may help public health officials track early warning signs that an outbreak could be imminent in a given area or region.
The symptom tracker will appear on the “do you have symptoms?” webpage on the COVID-19 website. Data from the tracker will provide local public health agencies with data for their coverage area. This could help public health officials understand when outbreaks are occurring in given locations and, in some cases, follow up with certain individuals who may need additional support. Knowing about potential outbreaks more immediately can help inform decisions to take action at the local level.
Several local public health agencies had previously created their own symptom trackers over the last month. The results from their surveys will also be included in the aggregate data reports that CDPHE will eventually release publicly.
“If Coloradans are feeling symptoms related to COVID-19, such as a dry cough, fever and shortness of breath, they can serve the public health response by isolating themselves and voluntarily reporting those symptoms using the symptom tracker,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, Executive Director of CDPHE.
Future versions of the symptom tracker will route people with COVID-19 symptoms to the appropriate resources for them. People who report their symptoms will be able to opt in to receive automated help managing their symptoms via text message. The system will route them to various resources, from telemedicine to behavioral health support.
This survey will collect personal health information, which the department will safeguard, protect, and report only in aggregate. More information about how data will be collected, shared and protected is available on our FAQ page.