Patrick Quade, the crowdsourcing expert who founded iwaspoisoned.com has expanded beyond food safety with a health and safety community issue-reporting site that captures the public’s Covid-19 experiences.
Safely HQ is Quade’s second crowdsourcing platform. It operates separately from iwaspoisoned.com and it is collecting COVID-19 information from the public. Anyone signing on to the Safely HQ platform finds this NOTICE: For Coronavirus (COVID-19) information, alerts sign up, and to report your case go to:
The COVID-19 page is collecting stories both as transcripts and audio files of public experiences with the virus from around the world. A woman from Bethesda, MD, shared her family’s experience on March 17 and going back a month.
“I’m pretty sure I had coronavirus starting on February 14. I caught the flu-like virus from my son (who barely had symptoms). It was strange. I knew coronavirus was circulating at the time but didn’t think it was already in my area. My doctor dad said I didn’t have the flu, but instead “an extremely bad cold.”
“I had a fever, malaise, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, I coughed up mucous from my chest. It was horrendous for about 5-6 days; I got a blood draw (CBC) on day 4 or so that showed no signs of infection (it was actually perfect but with the white blood cells on the slightly lower end of normal, typical of a virus. I started taking a z-pack on the 5th day and by 24 hours I felt much better. Apparently, z packs have anti-inflammatory benefits (in addition to being antibiotics).
“My husband also got this virus and we agree it was the weirdest illness of our lives. And my daughter got it – 5 full days after her initial exposure. She too had mild symptoms. My children are nearly 7 and 4. And I’m 41 (husband is also 41). Take care and I love your site!”
Unlike iwaspoisoned.com, which follows the crowd to specific locations responsible for foodborne illnesses, Safety HQ is more general. It encourages people to share their experiences to alert regulators, businesses or product owners, and to get notifications for one’s own case or issue.
When Quade arrived on the food safety scene, it was not without controversy. Time and time again, iwaspoisoned.com demonstrated the power of crowdsourcing.
Quade last year was the first to report that the Orange County Health Department was investigating Pita Hot after 200 people jumped on iwaspoisoned.com to report they got sick after dining at the Fullerton, CA, restaurant. Quade praised OC Health for the speed in which it acted.
Because Quade and his staff thoroughly vet reports to its websites before they are posted, he’s been able to fill a food safety surveillance role for more than 90 percent of the public health departments in the U.S.
And the new Safely HQ platform has already had requests from health officials in a half dozen states for its “safely coronavirus alerts.”
At a time when “talking heads” and elected officials sometimes seem to be sucking all the oxygen out of the room, some might find what’s being posted on a crowdsourcing site refreshing.
Quade told Food Safety News, the health and safety issue reporting site works much like iwaspoisoned.com, but for reports beyond just food safety.
“It was always an idea of ours to widen the scope of what we do — we started (the new site) prior to Covid, but it is a good fit for this type of thing,” he said.
Quade said they’d been receiving “a lot of reports that were not food safety-related, and this gives us a place to put them.” People can also sign up for Safety HQ alerts for their area here.
“You don’t have to like it,” Quade last year told the Food Safety Summit in Rosemont, IL, “You don’t have to use it. But you cannot ignore it. Social media is here.”
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