The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has launched a short survey designed to track symptoms of COVID-19, even if the person experiencing symptoms is unable or does not need to be tested.

While survey data can’t replace the official case data confirmed by testing, the department said it may help public health officials track early warning signs of imminent outbreaks.

“If Coloradans are feeling symptoms related to COVID-19, such as a dry cough, fever and shortness of breath, they can serve the public health response by isolating themselves and voluntarily reporting those symptoms using the symptom tracker,” Jill Hunsaker Ryan, the department’s executive director, said in a press release.

The survey will collect personal health information, which the department will safeguard, protect and report only in aggregate.

Chaffee County has already launched a similar symptom tracking survey, but Andrea Carlstrom, county public health director and COVID-19 incident commander, said they’re working to combine the data.

“We’ll be figuring out how the local and state tools can synergize,” she said during Friday’s virtual town hall meeting. “This could help public health officials know when outbreaks are occurring.”

Knowing about potential outbreaks more immediately can help inform decisions to take action at the local level.

The statewide survey is available at covid19.colorado.gov/covid19-symptoms.

Chaffee County’s self-reporting form is at chaffeecounty.org/Public-Health.

The state health department said results from local surveys will be included in aggregate data reports that it will eventually release publicly.

From our sister paper The Mountain Mail at www.themountainmail.com

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