24,000 report coronavirus symptoms to new Norway app

24,000 report coronavirus symptoms to new Norway app
A person accessing the new website on an iPad. Photo: Shutterstock/blackzheep/FHI
More than 24,000 people in Norway reported that they were suffering coronavirus symptoms in just a few hours on Sunday after national health authorities launched a new self-reporting app.
This is more than ten times the number of people who have tested positive for the virus (2,132), bringing health planners and epidemiologists a vital new tool to track the virus's spread in the underlying population. 
 
“We realise that we are going to need to track symptoms of respiratory disease to be able to say anything about the changing extent of symptoms in the population over time,” Gun Peggy Knudsen at the National Institute of Public Health (FHI), told public broadcaster NRK. 
 
 
She stressed that the app was for gathering public information, and should not be seen as replacing a call to a GP or hospital.
 
Her colleague Preben Aavitsland told Aftenposten that he believed the information would “give health authorities a better overview of the prevalence of infection and so also help them manage the outbreak”. 
 
The web questionnaire includes questions on symptoms, underlying health, and whether you have contacted a doctor or been tested. 
 
Knudsen stressed that many of the 24,000 who had reported coronavirus-like symptoms probably did not actually have the virus. 
 
“We are absolutely sure that there are very many people out there who have ordinary flu, colds, allergies or other things, which can cause similar symptoms,” she said.
 
“We have tested many people with respiratory tract infections lately, and see that less than five percent of these have tested positive for covid-19.” 
 
Norway reported on Sunday morning that 2,132 people had tested positive for the virus, out of 54,393 tested in total.
 
Of those, 169 are in hospital and 39 in intensive care. Seven people have died from the virus. 

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