My Covid Risk App: Lower your risk one click at a time

by Rachel McCoy, Managing Editor

Let’s face reality. Every time you step outside of your house, you are putting yourself at risk for exposure to Covid-19. We need to be smarter to stop the spread. 

As Governor Hogan of Maryland recently stated, “We are in a war right now, and the virus is winning. Now, more than ever, I’m pleading with the people of our state to stand together a while longer to help us battle this surging virus.”

He added, “Your family and your friends are counting on you. Your neighbors are counting on you. And your fellow Marylanders are counting on you to stay ‘Maryland Strong.’”

How do we reduce that risk?

Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health Emergency Physicians and Researchers, Dr. Megan Ranney and Dr. Elizabeth Goldberg, collaborated with Xionix Interactive Development, Inc. to create an app that can help users make informed decisions on what activities carry the most risk. This first of its kind, the app is called My COVID Risk.

This app uses limited information users provide by answering the questions and entering the Covid-19 positivity rate from the specific area to calculate a risk level ranging from “very low” to “very high.”  The app then provides suggestions on how to lower the risk. The best part  is that it is free and open to the public, 13 years of age or older, and no personally identifying information is collected.

I explored the app and found that it was generally useful and was a good conversation starter in terms of what a person can do to reduce risk of infection.

 The first questions are general questions, including a general disclaimer about using the app.  

The next screen asks for the zip code. The zip code is used to get infection statistics from the area, which plays a huge part in the risk levels.

The next series includes choices: inside or outside, activities for  that day, how long the activity will take place, how many people present and the percentage of people wearing a mask.  

The app then shows the risk level. The beauty of the app is that the user is given options to learn more about how to lower risk with specific activities.

Some methods to lower risk include:

  • Wearing a mask.
  • Type of mask.
  • How much social distancing.
  • Reduced time at the activity.
  • Washing hands and using eye protection.
  • Open windows and doors allowing ventilation.

This tool can be used as a building block to return to so called “normal” life.

I used the My Covid risk app to asks about back to school. I said it was a “normal classroom” with 25 people and everyone wearing mask with no ventilation. It said the risk was very high.

But when I added the everyone would be using a 6 feet social distance, reducing the time to three hours, washing hands often and having ventilation, it adjusted my risk to “Medium.” Of course “Medium Risk” is still risk–and an individual needs to decide his next step. It just puts into our minds the little things we can do to put ourselves and other at less risk.

Senior Lindsey Green said, “I would use to the Covid Risk App because if it says where I am going is high risk, I will use more precautions when going there.”

Parent Jenny McCoy said, “I have used the Covid Risk App multiple times, to see what I can do to make Thanksgiving as safe as possible for my family.”

While this app does not diagnose Covid-19 or address symptoms, this app can be very useful to check what activities have the highest risks and the things you can do to lower your risks. This app can be especially valuable if you are traveling or doing a new activity. Especially with the upcoming holiday during this time when numbers of cases are surging across the United States and people are traveling to be with family.  

Would you be willing to try the My Covid Risk App?


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