Michigan residents will now be able to track their daily symptoms in an online tool to help provide insight on where a new coronavirus outbreak may be next, as well as decide if they should return to work.
The Michigan departments of Health and Human Services and Labor and Economic Opportunity have partnered with the University of Michigan School of Public Health and College of Engineering to create the MI Symptoms Web Application.
The application, which was designed primarily for employers and employees, allows users to enter information daily to help identify symptoms potentially caused by the coronavirus. The site will also help users decide when to seek appropriate medical care.
State and local public health departments will also use the data to help identify a potential new outbreak of COVID-19. The data will be used in conjunction with the MI Safe Start dashboard.
“MI Symptoms will help Michiganders identify symptoms of the virus early, allowing them to take the appropriate actions for their health and the health of those around them,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, said in a statement. “This will also help state and local public health workers connect these individuals to important resources like testing locations and support services.”
The MDHHS and U-M are using “robust” security measures to protect individual data, according to the State Emergency Operations Center. MI Symptoms does not track users through their phones on either Bluetooth or GPS.
Employers may require their employees to use the tool as they return to work. It also allows employees to have an objective measure of whether they should be going to work without having to reveal specific symptoms.
“As businesses reopen and bring their employees back into the workplace, it’s important that we all do so safely,” Jeff Donofrio, director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, said in a statement. “MI Symptoms is a free tool that employers can use to help track workplace health and keep our economy operating. By using the app and following workplace safety guidelines to limit COVID-19 exposure, businesses can do their part to keep their workers and customers healthy.”
Michigan currently has more than 56,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to the MDHHS. The death toll in the state is 5,406.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]