A government report on the $10 million COVIDSafe app was released this week, showing how the app only identified 17 close additional contacts that were not already detected by contact tracers.
The Department of Health released a report this week detailing the effectiveness of the government’s COVIDSafe App following a year long freedom of information request by The Canberra Times.
Despite some of the report being redacted, it was revealed that the app cost short of $10 million to make, with $60,000 in ongoing monthly operation costs.
Since the app was launched in April 2020, it has identified a total of 17 close contacts that were not originally picked up by contact tracers.
All 17 who were identified by the app were located in NSW.
The app, however, also assisted in identifying an exposure site, which alerted 544 people who were in the vicinity.
It was also revealed that NSW and Victoria were the only states to use the map to improve their contact tracing procedures.
The minister’s foreword in the report notes that the low usage of the app was testament to the small levels of community transmission.
“The app was designed to deal with the potential of greater concentration of infection in the community. The low community transmission in combination with the use of existing, well established tracing processes has limited the need of public health officials to rely on COVIDSafe. Nonetheless, every close contact identified through COVIDSafe was a potential outbreak risk,” Health Minister Greg Hunt’s foreword notes.