CHICAGO (CBS) — A new data driven app launched by the city of Chicago will not only help people with their coronavirus questions, it can also preregister city residents for a future COVID-19 vaccine.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the app Chi COVID Coach is free and available to all city residents to help with everything from diagnosing symptoms, where to go for testing and other resouces.
The app will also also residents to pre-register for a coronavirus vaccine, although Lightfoot cautioned that it may not be available until 2021.
“It will also allow residents to register for vaccine dissemination once a vaccine become available,” Lightfoot said. “I want to remind everyone that a vaccine is many months away.”
While the app has information about COVID-19, Lightfoot said it does not take the place of social distancing measures and the mandatory stay-at-home order.
“The app gives officials a way to communicate directly with app users who may be COVID-19 positive or experiencing symptoms. The app lets the health department send out texts with potentially life-saving information like when to seek medical care and where coronavirus testing is available,” Lightfoot said.
Health officials said Chi COVID Coach is free to download and personal information will only be shared with the department for purposes related to COVID-19.
Residents can download the app at www.Chicago.gov/covidcoach.
Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health said the app which will not only provide people with guidance on symptoms but give data to the health department to track the ups and downs of the virus in the city.
“It’s really the first app of its kind. And it will advise residents what to do if they experience symptoms, where to seek medical care, how to connect to testing. Further down the line when reliable antibody testing is available, it will help us look back to see who had symptoms and make sure they know when reliable testing is there them,” Arwady said.
She added that it will evolve with the COVID-19 information given and provided.
“We’ll continue to develop it, refine it and add functionality over the months and years to come,” Arwady said who added that the information will be confidential and not given out to Google (the app developer) or any other entity.
“Your registration will be protected and used only by the department of public health for purposes related to COVID-19,” she said.
Lightfoot also addressed a video that circulated over the weekend showing a crowded house party, a violation of the stay-at-home order and social distancing practices.
“It goes against all of the things we’ve been talking about, all of the things that the vast majority of the people of Chicago understand and know. They put themselves at risk. And not only that, every person puts the next person at risk,” Lightfoot said. “That’s why to me it seems so stressing.”
The mayor couldn’t say for certain where the party was held, but heard it was possibly on the city’s West Side. The house was not an Airbnb rental, the company said.
Lightfoot said there is an active police investigation.
“What happened in that scene is foolish and reckless,” Lightfoot added. “And I think it’s got to be a level of personal responsibility for that. Millennials aren’t children. Many of them are in their 20s. They’re fully functioning adults. And we expect adults to act responsibly, particularly in a time of pandemic.”