An innovative new app created by Victoria’s epidemiologists and public health data experts is helping to boost tracking abilities of mystery COVID cases.

The new Mystery Case Tracker is believed to be the first of its kind in Australia to be created in-house and could save epidemiologists hours of time in contact tracing investigations.

The Mystery Case Tracker is a tool that supports epidemiologists in their investigations into cases of coronavirus with an unknown source of acquisition – colloquially known as “mystery cases” – and could go on to be used to help with tracking other infectious diseases.

The Mystery Case Tracker started being used to investigate mystery cases in September, and will be used in future cases to help Victoria’s health experts continue the fight against coronavirus and keep Victorian businesses open.

The Mystery Case tracker is “fed” contact tracing data and generates a digital diagram that maps the links between cases and contacts, and their movements.

Getting accurate information is vital and the contact tracers always rely on people to be honest and accurate and to remember visiting places for a week or more before they developed symptoms. The tool will enable the expert contact tracers to process data and links from different sources into a user friendly and quicker set of connections that will help them detect and trace outbreaks and contacts faster – meaning they can better stop outbreaks in their tracks.

The Mystery Case Tracker will continue to evolve with new elements being introduced, including expanded location identification capability, and automated alerts about potential new outbreaks.

Minister for Health, Martin Foley, said, “Staying one step ahead of this incredibly infectious virus means continuing to advance our case and contact tracing systems, to keep our community safe.

“Finding the link between people, places and times is the key to outbreak investigation and management – the team has done an amazing job to build this new tool that allows these investigations to be done quickly and robustly. 

“We’ve all got a part to play to protect ourselves and those we love from this virus – whether it’s the public health team who are working around the clock, cases providing accurate information to help them do their work, or every Victorian who is staying at home and getting testing when they’re sick – we thank you.” 

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