A mobile phone app has been developed to allow Canberra users to streamline their registration into venues while easing the burden of contact tracing on business owners.
Developed by ACT Health, use of the app is optional but will assist venue operators meet their contact-tracing obligations under the COVID-19 Public Health Directions which require non-essential businesses to record the first name and phone number of people who attend their venue.
Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said the Check In CBR app will also provide businesses with a convenient and secure option of capturing customer contact details.
“Canberra’s local businesses have been co-operating really well with ACT Health, putting in place their COVID safety plans and doing what they can to protect the health and safety of their staff and customers.
“Most businesses have had to change the way they operate, and we know this has caused additional stress and administrative burdens,” said Ms Stephen-Smith.
With almost 85,000 negative tests for COVID-19 in the ACT and no new cases for more than seven weeks, the Minister said the app was developed as an additional measure in the challenge to keep Canberra businesses open.
“This will help businesses to comply with the COVID-19 Public Health Direction, particularly smaller businesses and organisations who are not able to invest in this type of technology,” said Ms Stephen-Smith.
People can still provide their contact information by other means at venues, but the new app is designed to be easier for both the business and the customers, allowing customers at participating venues to check-in and provide their details for contact tracing by scanning a QR code upon arrival or by entering a six-digit code.
The app is free to use for venues and consumers and contact information will automatically be sent to ACT Health for use by contact tracers if required to assist in identifying anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19 in the ACT.
Data can only be accessed by ACT Health and will be stored for 28 days. It will then be deleted.
Head of the team that developed the app and Chief Information Officer for ACT Health Peter O’Halloran said the app has been designed with privacy and security of information front and centre, but was not built to replace the Commonwealth’s COVIDSafe app.
“The reason why the ACT Government has chosen to implement such an app was to meet the needs being expressed to us by businesses and consumers about their concerns around the privacy of using pieces of paper, as well as businesses who have enough work to do maintaining their own business, let alone worry about these type of things.
“From what we’ve seen in other states, the sooner we get on contact tracing, the sooner we can get the information and act upon it, which in turn will help cut down on transmission.”
Mr O’Halloran said the app was developed in under one month and in the first few hours since its release yesterday morning (9 September), more than 25 venues have registered and hundreds of people have downloaded it.
“We’ve designed the app so that if there’s an outbreak, our contact tracers can get access to the data in as little as five minutes after being notified, which will make a very big difference when they try to trace an outbreak.
“It can be used on any device and my own kids have even tested it and gave it the thumbs up,” he said.
Mr O’Halloran said it is safe to say his team of 200 staff have “had at least two jobs this year”, developing telehealth technology and an instant messaging system to significantly cut the waiting time for the result of a COVID-19 test.
Businesses and individuals can find more information about the app and how to register on the Check In CBR App on the ACT’s COVID-19 website.
Check In CBR is available to download from the Apple App Store for iPhone users and will be available from the Google Play Store for Android phones today (10 September).