The Territory Check-In app is being redesigned to include information about where and when Territorians may have come into contact with someone positive for COVID-19, following public concerns about the lack information in contact tracing messages.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said this morning that the Northern Territories Government was working with the ACT Government, which owns the Territory Check-In app, to develop an ‘integrated solution’ to provide people with information about the sites of exposure.
“[At the moment] we get the data from the app and then we have to text it,” he told ABC Radio Darwin.
“What we’re going to be able to move into soon is that when you open the app, it’ll tell you that you’ve been on all of these sites at the same time as someone.”
The Government of the Northwest Territories’ current exposure site messaging system has come under criticism for text messages failing to indicate where and when affected individuals were at an exposure site.
Health Minister Natasha Fyles has previously said the current message alert system is primarily aimed at reminding people to watch for symptoms.
But on Tuesday, Mr Gunner said the current system was also designed to avoid overwhelming people with too many notifications.
“If we were to include location data in text messages, the health advice wouldn’t change, but what would change is that we would be sending something like two and a half to three million text messages a week,” he said. -he declares.
“There are about 800 contacts per positive…so that means… [you would be] receive 30 to 40 text messages.
“When you get one of these text messages, chances are you’ve been to 10, 20 or 30 places at the same time as someone with HIV.”
He said the app change was expected “very, very soon.”
“The location data will be there, [and] people can satisfy their curiosity about it,” he said.
RAT tests in “good” supply
With demand for rapid antigen tests still high across the country, the chief minister said the NT had a “good” amount of stock and enough to meet demand.
“We use between 10,000 and 20,000 a day,” Gunner told ABC Radio Darwin.
“We normally have around 10 days of stock on hand, [and] we are constantly receiving new stock.
“Over the last three or four days we’ve had more stock, so I think we’re now closer to 20 days of stock.”
Gunner said it was the companies’ responsibility to provide RATs to essential workers found to be close contacts if they were fully vaccinated and asymptomatic.
However, he said “on a few occasions” recently the government had provided them to businesses which it had decided should remain open.
“Once in a while we identified a key item that needs to stay open in a particular location and we were able to provide the RATs in that case, like a remote community store or something,” he said.
“Where we’ve needed to provide assistance we can, but overall that’s up to the employer.”
With NT schools returning next week, Mr Gunner said the government would provide public schools with enough RAT kits for school staff to be tested three times a week throughout the first term, but said schools private should provide their own.
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