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Apple Maps gathering information to display COVID-19 testing locations

Apple Maps is gathering information from healthcare providers, labs, and other businesses to be able to display COVID-19 testing locations soon, as part of the company’s efforts in dealing with the new coronavirus.

Apple launched a webpage for adding COVID-19 testing locations to its maps service, with a CSV file that needs to be filled out and sent back through email. The team handling the submissions will review the file and contact the sender to verify the provided information.

Alternatively, people may share the locations of COVID-19 testing sites to Apple Maps by tapping the information icon on the upper right corner of the app, and choose to “Add a missing place.”

Once uploaded to Apple Maps, the COVID-19 testing locations will include information such as the name of the place, the associated healthcare provider, contact numbers, and website. Other details include the type of the testing location, such as whether it is a hospital or a laboratory, and the nature of the location, such as if it is a building, parking lot, or a drive-through facility.

The requested information also includes whether the testing location will require a referral, which will inform people planning to visit one if they should first secure a doctor’s note and schedule an appointment.

Apple could not provide an estimate for how quickly it can add the COVID-19 testing locations to Apple Maps, but it did say that it is working to verify submitted information on the testing sites as quickly as possible.

Apple vs. COVID-19

Also as part of its efforts to help people amid the coronavirus outbreak, Apple has reprioritized the categories in the search list of Apple Maps to focus more on those that have become more important during the health crisis. Groceries, food delivery, pharmacies, hospitals, and urgent care will show up at the top of the page, ahead of other options such as restaurants, fast food, and gas stations.

Apple has also recently teamed up with rival Google for a new opt-in system that uses Bluetooth technology to trace the spread of the coronavirus, with the data to then be shared with local public health authorities through iOS and Android APIs.

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