Vancouver digital agency builds coronavirus test tracking application

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A new web application created by Vancouver-based digital agency Hot Tomali to help map coronavirus testing sites in the United States, Canada and Mexico won the COVID-19 Global Hackathon # BuildforCOVID19 and is now online.

The hackathon, which spurred software development to meet the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, was initially a collaboration between the tech world, the scientists at Chan Zuckerberg Biohub and the World Health Organization. Participating technology companies include AWS, Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, Pinterest, Salesforce, Slack, TikTok, WeChat, etc.

The web application itself, HealthAlerts.io, comes with searchable maps and filters, the site has already organized and approved more than 6,200 verified coronavirus test sites with new data added daily. It was one of 89 winning projects.

“We are extremely pleased to have been selected for the # BuildforCOVID19 hackathon and to have a live project that is already serving the public,” said Thomas Stringham, founder and CEO of Hot Tomali. “We used the technology from previous projects, which allowed us to quickly develop a solution.”

Although the initial list of test sites came from public health organizations and government sources, users can also submit new test sites, reviews, and photos as a way to outsource the landscape of coronavirus testing by rapid evolution.

To speed up the testing process, users are directed to self-assessment tools based on their location. Self-assessments are the first step in determining a person’s eligibility for testing, and localized assessment tools allow users to determine the steps to get tested without overburdening the healthcare system with phone requests and unnecessary emails.

“The COVID-19 mass tests are the only way for people to get back to normal and for the economy to reopen safely,” said Stringham. “Our goal is to make the COVID-19 tests as accessible as possible.”

To ensure continuous access to the most reliable information, HealthAlerts.io also offers real-time bulletins from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), HHS (United States Department of Health and Human Services), FDA (US Food and Drug Administration), WHO (World Health Organization), Health Canada, HealthLinkBC and ECDC (European Center for Disease Prevention and Control).

Alert data is extracted directly from sources via RSS as it becomes available, and more sources are added as it becomes available, the agency said.

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