New tech to aid COVID-19 efforts

WeTraq is an Ontario-based tech company, certified by Health Canada, that specializes in personal location monitoring for family caregivers of seniors, children and loved ones affected with conditions, like dementia, that can lead to unconsciously wandering from designated safe zones.

Now, WeTraq has adapted its technological expertise to develop a new application designed specifically for minimizing the spread of COVID-19.

WeTraq’s innovative smartphone app, dubbed GuardIO, was developed in collaboration with CableShoppe (CSI) and enMobi, and will help Public Health Authorities understand and predict infection rates by way of speeding up the disease investigation process, contact tracing, and assessing potential exposure.

By conventional methods, a person infected with COVID-19 is interviewed to determine with whom they may have come into close contact during the contagious period. Health officials must then contact those people to warn them to monitor for symptoms or to self-isolate. It’s a laborious process during which those infected may unknowingly expose others to the virus. While not replacing these conventional methods, GuardIO will contribute to efforts by way of logging and categorizing locations visited based on customized search parameters.

Here’s how it works: Individuals voluntarily “opt-in” to, and can opt-out of, the GuardIO app (much like we do for food delivery apps). All users’ personal information remains completely anonymous as per Federal and Provincial Privacy regulations, with only the mobile location data accessed, and the user can delete the app and erase the data collected at any time.

If an individual tests positive and they are using the GuardIO app, Public Health staff will request their location history to help with contact tracing. The aggregated mobile location data collected from these phones is then used to identify zones visited by patients to predict where the next possible outbreak may occur. This will not only help to inform the public of potential hotspots in real time, but will also alleviate some stressors to the healthcare system.

WeTraq and its GuardIO app is proof of how innovative technology developed in our own backyard can assist with flattening the curve in monumental ways!

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