Mayor Lightfoot Joins Chicago Department of Public Health to Launch 'Chi COVID Coach' Mobile Application to Further Citywide Response to COVID-19

April 27, 2020

New, forward-looking app offers Chicago residents support throughout COVID-19 pandemic, creates citywide registry for future vaccine

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334 / press@cityofchicago.org

CHICAGO - Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today joined Allison Arwady, M.D., Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), to launch ‘Chi COVID Coach,’ a mobile-friendly, web-based application to support residents during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. This forward-thinking app was built in partnership with Google and MTX, and it will allow CDPH to communicate directly with Chicago residents who may be COVID-19 positive or experiencing symptoms, providing them important information and guidance.

“Whether it is data or technology, we are using all of the tools we have available to inform our decisions and further expand our citywide response to this pandemic,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This new app will also allow us to communicate directly with residents in real time, to answer questions about their symptoms and determine if they need medical attention. And this app will allow us to build upon our forward-looking strategy by developing a city registry for a future vaccine.”  

Because the app was built on the Google Cloud it will allow CDPH to make adaptations and changes over the course of the pandemic. Residents can visit the app at www.Chicago.gov/covidcoach to start the coach.

The first app of its kind, Chi COVID Coach creates an opportunity for pre-registration for vaccine dissemination once it becomes available. Though a vaccine may be many months away, CDPH is already taking steps to prepare for mass vaccination. Because of this, everyone is encouraged to sign up, whether they have symptoms or not. Registration for the app is free and information will be protected and only used by CDPH for public health purposes related to COVID-19.

“The Chicago Department of Public Health is pleased to be taking another important data driven step in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Arwady. “This app will not only allow us to have a direct line with those we may not otherwise be able to communicate with, it will allow our department to start planning for the future and the next phase of the response to COVID-19.”

Starting today, Chi COVID Coach will:

  • provide text messages to registered users that are tailored to their symptoms, and guidance about where and when to seek medical care;
  • alert registrants when and where COVID-19 testing--and down the line, approved antibody testing--is available;
  • allow for daily check-ins to monitor the well-being of residents and let them know what they and other people in their household should do to limit the spread of COVID-19. 
“We’re proud to partner with the City of Chicago on this initiative. Our focus is helping local governments navigate the pandemic, while providing a foundation for the future of citizen services,” said Brent Mitchell, director of state and local government, Google Cloud. “The city’s Chi COVID Coach uses Google Cloud’s technology to serve residents with real-time information and advice, and it also delivers critical information to leaders as they navigate the pandemic.”
 
Mayor Lightfoot and the department of public health will continue using data to inform policy decisions moving forward, which is why it is crucial for the City to continue collecting information pertaining to the coronavirus. With widespread use, Chi COVID Coach will assist in the collection process of valuable data about the virus’ spread, as well as information about who is seeking care and getting tested. Operating with informed consent, this app will gather information from residents concerning demographics and symptoms, and with that data, CDPH will be able to better understand population health trends, which is crucial to better understanding the virus.
 
“We are dedicated to enabling the City of Chicago, with data-driven technology, to connect with Chicagoans in real-time, deliver vital information around the outbreak, and counter this pandemic through thoughtful connectivity,” said Maera Siddiqi, MTX Chief Strategy Officer.
 
The new app builds on the City of Chicago’s data driven response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Most recently, the City released new data reinforcing the effectiveness of social distancing and drawing a correlation between compliance with the state’s Stay-at-Home order and the flattening of the COVID-19 curve in Chicago. The data showed a slowing rate of increase in total cases in Chicago, which includes new case-level analysis gathered over the past month signaling great improvement in the time it is taking for the number of cases to double. Just one month ago, cases in Chicago were doubling every 2-3 days; now they are doubling about only every 18 days.
 
For more information about the latest data, and to sign up for the Chi COVID Coach app, please visit www.Chicago.gov/coronavirus.

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