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News Everbridge helps Southern Miss community with contact tracing

Everbridge helps Southern Miss community with contact tracing

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The University of Southern Mississippi launched a university-wide mobile app this week as an addition to its continued efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

All Southern Miss students, faculty and staff are encouraged to download the free app in either the Apple or Google Play stores by searching “Everbridge.”. The app has multiple features, including a daily symptom checklist, direct links to the Student Health Services at Moffitt Health Center for scheduling a COVID-19 test and contact tracing. University leaders stress that the information within the app is confidential and secure, and its success is contingent on usage.

Southern Miss Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Denny Bubrig, Ph.D., said if people use the app, the university will have the ability to potentially move quickly with notifying people that they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.

“Just as with personal records in our health center or financial aid, personal information is treated with care and is never used for anything other than the intended use, which, in this case, is to make sure our campus stays healthy,” Bubrig said.

Self-reporting a positive test through the app can help prevent the spread of the virus. If the positive patient was within 15 feet of another person for 15 minutes or longer, that person will be notified that they have been exposed — only if they also use the app. 

Everbridge runs on Bluetooth technology, which makes it possible to anonymously link a known-positive app user to another app user they saw soon before getting tested. When a person is alerted about their potential exposure, no identifying information about the positive patient will be shared or accessible. 

The app is one more tool in Southern Miss’ arsenal against COVID-19. At the start of the fall semester, Southern Miss researchers began analyzing and returning results for COVID-19 tests in a university laboratory within 24 hours. Student Health Services at Moffitt Health Center also has a 15-minute rapid antigen test in addition to antibody blood tests.

“We’ve been working to develop every resource and every tool that we possibly can think of to help manage and mitigate the impact of COVID-19,” Bubrig said. “The implementation of this app is just another example of a collaborative effort to do that, and now we need members of the campus to work with us in using it.”

Current Southern Miss faculty, staff and students should follow these steps to download and access the app:

  • Search and download “Everbridge” in your phone’s app store.
  • Search and mark “The University of Southern Mississippi” as your community within the app.
  • Enter your Southern Miss ID (ex: w123456@usm.edu) and password to sign-in.
  • Opt-in to services in which you wish to participate.

For more information on the University’s COVID-19 response, visit http://usm.edu/covid-19.

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