It’s been found that the Service NSW check-in app has been updating with case alerts without actually sending alert notifications to phones over the last three weeks, meaning that people could have been present at exposure sites without realising.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Wednesday morning that the relatively new feature on the state’s app will let you know if you’ve been to an exposure site through your check-ins. The kicker is that you have to manually scroll through your check-in history to find out if you’ve been exposed or not, instead of the app sending an immediate notification to give you a heads up.
When you’ve been checked in to a venue, shop, or building where a positive case has also been present, a little red COVID-19 case alert symbol will appear in your check-in history next to the venue. This is all well and good but maybe there should be some push notification that pops up on our phones so we’re not obsessively checking to see if we have to go get a test or not? Just a thought.
After finding out about these hundreds of thousands of quietly-delivered alerts that people have missed until now, some of us at PEDESTRIAN.TV also found that we’d unknowingly been in the same places as COVID cases – with some exposures dating back to over a week ago.
When we tapped on these check-ins with the new “COVID-19 case alert” icons, no further information came up about the exposure level at the venue of concern, nor any direction to seek out a COVID test. The mind boggles.
A spokesperson for Service NSW told the SMH that anyone who find they’ve been somewhere at the same time as a positive COVID-19 case, they should monitor for symptoms and get a COVID swab test if they feel unwell.
Customer Service Minster Victor Dominello also said the app is aiming to have push notification functionality by December 1st, as the state’s vaccination rates continue to rise and the need for intensive contact tracing is lowered.
“We are adding new functionality to the Service NSW app to support our world-class contact tracers as we continue to reopen the state,” he told the SMH.
“In-app case alerts make it easier for customers to see if they have visited an exposure site. They are displayed with a red icon in the check-in history section of the app.
“Come December 1, we aim to accompany these alerts with push notifications through the Service NSW app.”
So let this be a massive PSA until NSW’s app builds in actual phone alerts, I suppose. Take a moment to check out your check-in history on your phone and if you’ve been in the same place as a positive case, go and get a test at the first sign of the slightest symptoms.