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New UCSF study to help track where people may be contracting COVID-19

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – A new study could help open up businesses that have been closed because of coronavirus and also keep restrictions in place where necessary.

UCSF doctors are asking for people to sign up for the study. It’s an app they created that tracks your location and can ultimately determine where people are possibly contracting COVID-19.

“We still don’t really understand when and where people are getting infected,” Yulin Hswen, PH.D, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at UCSF, said.

But a new UCSF study may be able to track just that. 

It’s called COVIDseeker and they’re looking for people who have tested positive and who have never had the coronavirus to sign up.

“What we are further trying to do is to understand when and where people might have been infected to be able to develop more preventative measures to those areas,” Hswen said. 

It’s easy to sign up.

Text “SEEKER” to 41411 — The COVID-19 citizen science mobile app will start to download.

You’ll receive an invitation to share your location history with COVIDseeker.

Epidemiologists will be able to track where you are and where you have been with this information.

You’ll be asked to answer a series of questions and often report if you have any symptoms.

You also have the ability to sign up to receive information about your mobility and how it ranks with other people in your community and receive alerts if you have been in close contact for several minutes with someone who has coronavirus.

“Really trying to understand which protective measures are working and which are not but also where we can potentially be more lenient as well,” Hswen said. 

COVIDseeker also looks back in time and with enough participants, may be able to recreate people’s movements when infection rates were rising and falling in the spring and summer giving epidemiologists the information they need to try to predict what is going to happen next.

If you want to join the COVIDseekers study and donate your data, text “SEEKER” to 41411 and if businesses are interested in working with UCSF on this, they can email covid19@eurekaplatform.org.

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