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New Stanford app connects first responders to COVID-19 testing

New Stanford app connects first responders to COVID-19 testing
Linda Barman, MD, with a patient at drive through testing in March. Photo by Steve Fisch/Stanford

April 9 (UPI) -- Stanford Medicine has a new app to help police, firefighters and paramedics schedule priority drive-through COVID-19 testing in two California counties if they have symptoms.

The medical school launched the new First Responder COVID-19 Guide app, with Apple' help, to coincide with priority drive-through testing in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

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The app is designed to help an estimated 8,000 first responders in those counties screen their symptoms and schedule an appointment if needed.

Users complete questions about their symptoms, coronavirus exposure and medical history through the screening portion of the app.

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If the app determines testing is needed, the first responder can take the result to his or her agency contact in charge of health, called the "department infection control officer'" in the app. That contact will schedule priority testing for him or her at a Stanford Health Care site.

Stanford developed the app to serve police officers, firefighters and paramedics first because they are at high risk of being infected with the coronavirus, CNBC reported, referring to the more than 1,000 New York City police officers testing COVID-19 positive as an example.

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"If we have a first responder who has symptoms, it's really important for them to get screened and potentially test it because they're going to be very patient-facing and very community-facing," Stanford Department of Medicine Chairman Dr. Bob Harrington told CNBC. "That's what their jobs are."

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Stanford Medicine said in a statement it aims to expand the high-priority testing to other "frontline essential service workers" in the future, including grocery store clerks and public service personnel. It also plans to help first responders in other counties connect to its outpatient testing facilities in the future.

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