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USM Launches Mobile App to Assist COVID Prevention Efforts

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 16:11pm | By: Margaret Ann Macloud

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

All USM 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.

“If people use it, then we will have the ability to potentially move quickly with notifying people that they’ve been in contact with someone who has COVID-19,” USM Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Denny Bubrig said. “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.” 

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 USM’s arsenal against COVID-19. At the start of the fall semester, USM researchers began analyzing and returning results for coronavirus tests in a university laboratory and producing results within 24 hours. Student Health Services at Moffitt Health Center, the health clinic located on the USM Hattiesburg campus, 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 USM faculty, staff and students should follow these steps to download and access the app:

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