Covid Tracker App advice for staff wearing PPE (HSE Update 04/09/2020)

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Covid Tracker App advice for staff wearing PPE (HSE Update 04/09/2020).

All health care workers and GPs are encouraged to download and use the Covid Tracker app, but there are some simple steps you will need to take to ensure that you do not receive close contact alerts when the risk of transmission is reduced or non-existent due to the use of PPE.

Published: 4 September 2020 (HSE)

The COVID Tracker App has been downloaded over a million times and sent close contact notifications to over 900 people. We are now issuing guidance for health care workers and GPs that wear PPE when providing care to patients.

Click here to download the app

We encourage all health care workers and GPs to download and use the app, but there are some simple steps you will need to take to ensure that you do not receive close contact alerts when the risk of transmission is reduced or non-existent due to the use of PPE.

Using the app during patient care

If you are caring for patients while wearing PPE, the COVID Tracker app will not be able to distinguish that you are in PPE. Therefore, if you spend more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of a patient who subsequently tests positive for COVID-19, the app may identify you as being a close contact.

The recommendation from Public Health is that GPs and other healthcare workers involved in patient care should turn off the contact tracing feature in the app when they begin patient care, and importantly remember to switch it back on when you finish work at shift or session end.

This will prevent you from receiving anonymous close contact alerts from the app while you are wearing PPE. Any close contact events in a clinical setting will still be picked up by the manual contact tracing process.

This guidance only applies to staff who wear PPE when providing care to patients. All other staff can carry on using the app as normal.

If you receive a close contact alert

If you are a health care worker and you receive a close contact alert, you should request a call back from the contact tracing team. The team will tell you what steps to take. Always follow HPSC protocols and any local guidelines on what to do if you are in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

You can find out how to switch contact tracing on and off here.