IT in the Time of COVID-19
May 02, 2020
Information Technology (IT) has never been more important. Consider how IT is helping us all survive and function in this challenging time of COVID-19. Let me share just a few ways the Governor's Office of Information Technology (OIT) in the State of Colorado is helping YOU — residents, businesses, and employees — stay connected.
Assistance. Major IT state applications are in great demand. Examples are Unemployment Insurance (UI) and the Colorado Benefits Management System (online at Colorado PEAK) which provides food, cash, and early childhood and medical assistance to the needy. Residents who have lost their job are applying for benefits at an all-time record rate. IT systems like these are seeing 10x the maximum load they were designed to encounter. To support the new Pandemic Unemployment Emergency Assistance program and the CARES Act, the systems were quickly upgraded, and millions of claims have been processed in less than a week since go-live.
myColorado. The myColorado mobile app provides residents with secure and convenient access to state services anytime, anywhere. The app's Colorado Digital ID™ enables you to create a secure electronic version of your Colorado driver license or state identification (ID) card on your smartphone for proof of identification, age, and address within Colorado. The app allows all Coloradans to view COVID-19 information in one place. Residents who are facing hardship can use the app to access benefits on Colorado PEAK. Coloradans can also sign up to receive helpful COVID-19 text and email alerts within the myColorado app. Download myColorado from the Apple App Store or Google Play today!
Do You Have Symptoms? Learn more about what to do. An important step in reducing the spread of COVID-19 is to report your symptoms using the Colorado Community COVID Symptom Tracker. It collects data so that COVID-19 can be tracked among people who may not be able to or need to get tested for the virus. It helps public health experts and policymakers to map and identify potential hotspots not captured by testing. And by filling out the symptom tracker, the system can connect you with resources that can help with any physical or behavioral health symptoms you may experience during this time.
Hotlines. The state's objective is to route all COVID-19 public health questions through one trusted channel, and then connect callers to the appropriate experts for help. To quickly build up this capability, OIT has utilized Virtual Call Centers and Virtual Automated Agents. We're also providing the technology to allow remote call center workers to receive office calls on their personal phones. The impact has been so great that the concept has spread quickly — first to specialized OIT service desks such as myColorado and next to many other departments.
Other Resources. Stay informed at covid19.colorado.gov which provides access to important information and services, including how you can join others in #DoingMyPartCO. Stay Secure. Be vigilant. Watch out for the many COVID-19 scammers who are phishing to steal your personal information or trick you.
Stay Secure. Be vigilant and watch out for the many COVID-19 scammers who are phishing to steal your personal information or trick you. Be suspicious of unsolicited emails, phone calls, texts, or visits. Check out these tips that we have made available on our Cybersecurity Help webpage.
Help. Get the latest in COVID-19 economic recovery resources at choosecolorado.com. Resources are available to support small businesses, nonprofits, freelancers, and independent contractors.
Safer at the Office. Offices can begin opening with restrictions in Colorado beginning May 4. Find recommendations for protecting your staff and customers at Safer at Home: Office-Based Business. Local governments may have established other dates.
EMPLOYEES (This is what Colorado is doing for our employees, perhaps it is relevant for those outside the state too.)
Telecommuting Is In. More than 80% of Colorado's 33,000 employees are working remotely, along with many other Coloradans. IT is allowing them to do so. It requires the right equipment (a computer, Internet access, and a phone), sufficient data and voice capacity, and secure access into state or corporate networks. Telecommuting help is provided through self-service and remote technical support, online training, and a "tech kit" offering written instructions.
Virtual Connections. Using audio, web, and video conferencing, we're staying connected virtually. Other means are internal organizational chats, texts, emails, and plain old phone calls. And to have fun with it, we have theme days where we wear hats, cool sunglasses, or school colors.
Recall Viktor Frankl's quote from Man's Search for Meaning, "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”
Have hope. You are not alone. Help is here for individuals, businesses, and telecommuters. Even as we move into the "Safer at Home" phase, stay at home as much as possible. Always wear a cloth facial covering when leaving the house. Remember, you are resilient. You are strong. This too shall pass, and we will get through it together. Let's be grateful for all we have and let's stay connected. Choose optimism.