COVID-19 in your neighbourhood? New crowdsourcing tools map possible cases in Canada

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By now, Canadians are accustomed to the daily tally of coronavirus cases in the country. But have you ever wondered how many people in your neighbourhood have symptoms or have been tested?

Some Canadian researchers are tapping into crowdsourcing technology to achieve just that.

COVID Near You and Flatten.ca are websites that map out confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 based on data reported from people in real time. Both sites use anonymous, self-reported data about symptoms and tests to narrow in on potential cases or outbreaks in communities.

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Testing is “severely lacking” in much of Canada and the U.S., said John Brownstein, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital and professor at Harvard Medical School, which is making it difficult to paint a clear picture of what’s going on in communities.

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He said technology like this can help fill data gaps and better inform public health entities and citizens.

“Most data we get for public health is from interactions with health systems. So if you go see a doctor or you’re hospitalized,

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