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CDC offers ‘Coronavirus Self-Checker’ online

Online bot nicknamed Clara helps user make decisions about seeking medical care

Coughing into elbow
Coughing into elbow (WJXT)

An online bot nicknamed Clara is acting as triage for health care providers in the United States as demand for coronavirus testing continues to surge.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is offering a “Coronavirus Self-Checker” for people concerned they may have symptoms of the disease as it sweeps through the country.

The CDC says its bot is to help users make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care and "is not intended for the diagnosis or treatment of disease or other conditions, including COVID-19."

The electronic guide introduces itself as “Clara” on the CDC’s website.

Clara asks a series of questions to establish the level of illness being experienced by the user or the person they are asking questions on behalf of, whether, for example, they are gasping for air or suffering from shortness of breath.

It also establishes their location within the US, whether they are in a long-term care facility and if they have been in contact with someone with COVID-19.

Recommendations range from calling 911 immediately to staying at home and calling their health care provider within 24 hors. Clara also points to the relevant state’s health department for further advice.