San Francisco begins using mobile tech to boost contact tracing

San Francisco is now using mobile technology to battle coronavirus. City and county leaders today announced they will be using mobile technology to track the progress of the virus.

San Francisco is now using the state's California Connected's mobile technology to help with contact tracing, tracking COVID's progress to combat the spread.

San Francisco already has a team of 200 contact tracers working seven days a week to track the coronavirus' progress, and warn people when and how to quarantine.

"We have been really proud to say at most times during this pandemic DPH reaches more than 80% of the San franciscans who test positive for COVID-19 and their close contact but we're seeing it start to slip because we are in a large surge," said Dr. Susan Philip from San Francisco's Department of Public Health.

Now the city is using the state's Cal Connect system which includes the option for making contact tracing mobile -- using phones to help in their tracking efforts.

The city saying it is leveraging every tool available.

"Today San Francisco is rolling out a virtual assistant tool that many other counties are already using to supplement their case investigation and contact tracing work," said Dr. Philip.

Rather than replacing the city's team of contact tracers, the mobile contact tracing will act as a force multiplier, allowing them to extend their reach as COVID-19 rates increase.

Anyone who tests positive will receive a message on their mobile phone, walking them through steps including how to quarantine properly, all the while gathering data about who that patient may have came into contact with recently, to try to head off the spread of COVID-19.

"This part is really important. We are asking people to share with us the names and the contact information, the mobile numbers of their close contacts if that have them, and this allows us to reach out to those people and support them," said Dr. Philip

And just as with the city's contact tracers, the new mobile technology will be confidential.

So patients don't have to worry that they will be blamed or criticized if they were exposed or exposed others to coronavirus.