‘Sara Alert’ launched to limit the spread of COVID-19

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The Government of Guam continues to leverage technology to enhance response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to adopting the Guam COVID Alert App last month, public health officials will also be using Sara AlertTM, an open source tool that automates monitoring and reporting of individuals exposed to or infected with COVID-19.

With Sara AlertTM, individuals will be able to update the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) on their health status on a daily basis during the period of time they are participating in public health monitoring. The tool provides real-time insights and increased reporting capability to support containment of the virus. It also enables hospitals and health systems to conduct contact tracing for their own employees. Sara AlertTM will be especially useful as DPHSS implements Guidance Memo 2020-11 Rev10, the latest quarantine protocol guidance.

“As further restrictions are relaxed, we need to ensure our Public Health containment and isolation team has the resources they need to keep this virus in check and prevent another surge of confirmed cases,” said Governor Leon Guerrero. “By deploying the new Sara AlertTM system, we can improve our efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, protect the health of our people, and support our goal of safely opening up our community.”

Unlike Guam COVID Alert, users will not have to download a smart phone application to access Sara AlertTM. Instead, they will communicate directly with DPHSS officials to report daily symptoms through web, SMS text, email, or phone call. Sara AlertTM does not collect or ask for other personal identifying information like social security numbers, bank account numbers or other financial information. Sara AlertTM will only ask individuals to report symptoms they may be experiencing. The Sara AlertTM system is already in use in several other states and territories.

“DPHSS remains focused on its mission to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in Guam,” said DPHSS Acting Director Art San Agustin. “Digital tools like Sara AlertTM are useful for quarantine management and help us improve our response and transition to recovery. This will increase our ability to track potential cases and contain cases more efficiently.”

Sara AlertTM is free for use by federal, state, territorial, tribal, and local governments, and regional health organizations. It was developed by MITRE, a not-for-profit organization that works in the public interest, in close collaboration and partnership with national public health organizations, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, National Association of County and City Health Officials, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, and other local and state health departments. Sara AlertTM has enabled public health workers to monitor and respond to the coronavirus pandemic and to coordinate and direct care where it is needed most.

“We developed Sara AlertTM with public health for public health,” said Dr. Paul Jarris, Chief Medical Advisor of MITRE’s Health Transformation Technical Center, and former Vermont Commissioner of Health. “Sara AlertTM has the potential to modernize the public health management of individuals in quarantine and isolation to protect communities from further spread of disease in this and future pandemics. As the pandemic evolves and stay-at-home measures are relaxed, states and localities can use it to strengthen efforts to control outbreaks in less affected areas, and to mitigate future waves of illness and possible rebound effects.”

For more information on Sara AlertTM, visit https://saraalert.org/.

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