Bryan Health officials share thoughts on U.S. development of smartphone app for COVID-19 tracking

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - On Tuesday, Bryan Health officials shared their thoughts on apps for your smartphone being developed all over the country that can help track your contact with COVID-19.

Tech developers are working on an app where through Bluetooth, the app can track and notify users if they've come in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

"I have seen stories from other parts of the country where they are doing this and it's effective. It'll be interesting to see how it works because if we're treating a COVID-19 patient, will the Geo-location from the app notify all 5,000 Bryan employees that they've come in contact because we're in the same building? I don't know details and nuances of it but I think things like that could be very well received by folks but it would have to be done where it doesn't create undue fear and anxiety," said Bob Ravenscroft, Vice President of Advancement for Bryan Health.

Current contact tracing is done by the health department.

COVID-19 cases by the numbers

At Bryan Health, to date, 7,609 people have been tested, of those 1,019 people have tested positive for COVID-19, and there are 251 pending cases.

Bryan Medical Center currently has 28 COVID-19 patients, with two patients pending results. We're told 13 of those patients are from Lancaster County.

Bryan Health officials said 10 of those patients are on ventilators, 11 patients are in the ICU, five are in the Progressive Care Unit, and 12 are in the General Care Unit.

Physicians stress the continued use of face coverings and masks as businesses reopen, adding masks are our first line of defense from COVID-19.

Preparations ahead of pandemic

Leaders with the hospital system said early on in the pandemic, they developed a plan on how to stage and grow ICU bed capabilities. The hospital system has the capacity to have 160-plus patients on ventilators and they could increase ICU capacity if a demand increased.

Hospital leaders said they are not in a place right now where other units within the hospital system need to open up as ICU wings.

In preparation, ventilators were donated and some machines were donated if there was a spike in cases. Bryan Health leaders said their team is equipped to deal with patients on ventilators and staff wear PPE everyday of the year.

Mobile COVID-19 testing clinics

Bryan Health officials are planning mobile COVID-19 testing clinics this week for community-wide testing. A date, time and location has not been determined just yet.