How New York's COVID-19 tech 'SWAT' team is building testing, tracking tools

New York's Technology SWAT Teams – formed in March by the state IT services office – worked with Microsoft and Apple to launch new COVID-19 self-screening and test-scheduling tools this week.

Since New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office issued the call for the tech SWAT teams on March 24, more than 6,500 volunteers representing individual IT experts and organizations with IT expertise, including private companies, universities and research labs, have signed on to develop IT solutions to help with the state's COVID-19 response.

The tech SWAT teams worked with Microsoft to create the COVID-19 screening tool, which more than 100,000 New Yorkers have already used, according to an April 15 news release. The digital screener includes a series of questions that guides users through state protocols to help them determine whether they should be tested for COVID-19.

The tool asks users to verify if they have certain symptoms of the novel coronavirus, such as cough, fever and shortness of breath, as well as the type of contact they have had with others who may have been exposed and demographic information.

The tech SWAT teams also partnered with Apple to make New York specific information on COVID-19 available to state residents through Apple's COVID-19 screening website and app. Apple is providing the latest updates on testing, free mental health resources and Gov. Cuomo's "New York State on Pause" order via the app.

Apple is also informing New York health authorities of mobility data trends based on information taken from Apple Maps. The data shows information such as the change in volume of people taking public transit, driving and walking in New York.


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