Inquiry about contact tracing app: QR-code vs Bluetooth beacon

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Dear WA Department of Health,

First of all congratulations to you and your ministry on your stellar response to COVID.

I would like to know if you have any available statistics on either the number of notifications, number of tests and/or number of cases found that are attributable in your region to contact tracing apps, as well as a breakdown of each of those due to the QR-code or the Bluetooth channels.

I am particularly interested in comparing between the utility of each of those two channels in any way possible.

My motivation, living in Switzerland, is that we currently have an app deployed here that exclusively uses Bluetooth, and little traction for a QR-code based system. The theory says such a system would be much more effective than Bluetooth. Due to your low number of cases, I expect you might only have anecdotal evidence but this would still give tangible data to share here.

Thank you very much for your help,

Yours faithfully,

Pau-Olivier Dehaye

Scalley, Ben, WA Department of Health

Dear Pau-Olivier Dehaye,

Thanks for your enquiry regarding the number of notifications, number of tests and/or number of cases found that are attributable in your region to contact tracing apps.

In WA there are essentially two apps in use. One made by the federal government called COVIDSafe which uses blue tooth technology to determine contacts. The other called safeWA from the state government which uses a QR code to check in at venues.

Because of our low cases numbers we are unable to provide useful information in response to your questions. Essentially since April last year we have had one case infectious in the community (with no secondary cases found).

In my experience as the head of the area responsible for contact tracing- a QR code system is a useful tool for contact tracing. When a single system is used and easily accessible it allows a list of potential contacts from venues to be rapidly formed, loaded into the contact tracing system, and tasked to staff to follow up.

Regards
Ben

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Pau-Olivier Dehaye

Dear WA Department of Health representative

Congratulations on maintaining numbers so low, and thank you for your response.

Yours sincerely,

Pau-Olivier Dehaye