CMU updates its COVID-19 screening app in effort to slow the spread of the virus on campus

While washing your hands and covering your nose and mouth may seem like something your parents have been telling you all your life, the tried-and-true practices remain central to health officials’ recommendations for slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Now Central Michigan University is improving upon a 21st century tactic in its efforts to prevent COVID-19 from further spreading on campus by updating its CMU Health Screen App for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. Updates include an improved user experience, updated language from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a completion bar that demonstrates that users have submitted to screening for the day.

The app is part of CMU’s mandatory daily self-screening protocols for faculty, staff, and students.

"Slowing the spread of COVID-19 requires information," says Dr. George E. Kikano, CMU vice president for health affairs and dean of the College of Medicine. "This is one of many tools that equip us for the fight."

The app requires users to answer two questions before they are cleared to enter campus: Have they spent more than 15 minutes within 6 feet of someone within two days of that person's COVID-19 diagnosis or positive test? And do they have any symptoms from a list of those associated with COVID-19?

If a user responds with yes to either, they must then consult with a physician or CMU medical staff before they return to campus. If a user can answer no to both, they are then permitted access to campus.

The questions must be answered daily.

The release of the CMU Health Screen App coincides with the announcement of a surveillance testing program at the school.

The surveillance testing program pools multiple COVID-19 tests before testing them for the virus. If the virus is detected within a pool, individual samples are then tested separately to determine the source.

"People who are asymptomatic can still spread the disease," says Dr. Sethu Reddy, professor and chair of medicine at the College of Medicine.

"Surveillance testing is important to take the pulse of what's happening at CMU from week to week."

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