ACEM statement on COVIDSafe app

In light of various concerns raised, the College has sought clarity from the government, particularly in relation to implications for healthcare workers alerted by the app of close contact with positive COVID-19 cases in their workplaces, regardless of whether they had been wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

The College has received reassurance that in the event of the app confirming hospital contact with a COVID-positive patient, contact tracers within public health units will be able to use COVIDSafe data to distinguish significant workplace contacts quickly, with minimal impost on a healthcare worker’s time. This may involve nothing more than a phone call.

The College has been further advised that there should be no reason for healthcare workers to go into isolation unless the conversation with the public health official suggests potential contact without PPE.

The Australian Government has also provided assurances that privacy protections in relation to data collected have recently been further strengthened with the passage of new legislation.

Considering the assurances provided, and in acknowledgment that COVID-19 represents significant and unprecedented risks to the safety of healthcare workers and communities, the College supports the use of the app, in concert with robust and timely contact tracing processes and systems within Australian jurisdictions.

While we acknowledge the decision to download and use the app is ultimately one for individuals, the College encourages its use as part of the national effort to keep the community and healthcare workers as safe as possible during the ongoing response to the coronavirus.

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