The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has launched a short survey designed to track symptoms of COVID-19, even if the person experiencing symptoms is unable or does not need to get a test. Although the data collected using this survey cannot replace official case data confirmed by testing, it may help public health officials track early warning signs that an outbreak could be imminent in a given area or region.
Why should I report my data?
Your data will help CDPHE track COVID-19 symptoms among people who may not be able to or need to get tested for the virus. This could help public health experts and policymakers map and identify potential hotspots not captured by testing.
You are not required to provide your name and location in order to report your symptoms, but doing so could help public health contact you if needed.
How are you protecting my data?
We care about your privacy. CDPHE is responsible for protecting the health information of Colorado residents. We collect specific personal health information from individuals in the community and put that information together to measure the public’s overall health and well-being. Your information will be protected and analyzed only by CDPHE, their authorized users (such as the Colorado School of Public Health, which uses data to model disease outbreaks), and your local public health agency.
With whom will you share my data?
Your data will be shared only with those with authorized access, such as your local public health agency. This will help public health and public safety agencies track COVID-19 symptoms in order to make appropriate public health decisions. Additionally, in some cases, public health officials may choose to follow up with certain individuals.
How will you report any data collected through the symptom tracker?
Any COVID-19 data publicly reported will be anonymized and reported in aggregate. That means your name and any other information that would make you identifiable will not be publicly disclosed. Any identifying COVID-19 data you report will only be potentially shared with local public health and public safety agencies to aid in their response.
Is my patient identification and information properly protected as mandated by HIPAA?
In short, absolutely. Your information is protected by state, federal, and all applicable laws. Your information is securely stored on a HIPAA compliant server and the database is encrypted during transit and at rest. Be assured that we have taken every precaution to protect your information.
Should I fill out the symptom tracker to get tested for COVID-19 or as a replacement for an epidemiological investigation?
At this time, the symptom tracker does not refer users to testing or allow them to register to receive a test for COVID-19. If you believe you may need to be tested, consult your healthcare provider.
The symptom tracker is also not a replacement for follow-up interviews or surveys conducted by epidemiologists to trace those exposed to COVID-19. The primary purpose of the symptom tracker at this time is to track potential outbreaks by understanding locations where people may be experiencing increases in symptoms associated with COVID-19.
See the CDPHE COVID-19 website for more information.