Minnesota student and U of M Associate Professor both create unique technology to help during COVID-19

"I designed this website to get current data about COVID," Eden Prairie High School Senior Connor Holm shares.

At just 17-years-old, Holm is well on his way to helping his community.

"Really I decided to do this because I knew the community was affected by COVID and I thought it would be nice to have a way to gain access to data easily," he said.

Holm created a website called the COVID-19 Information Provider.

"This is the homepage and here you have worldwide information, U.S., Minnesota’s as well as Hennepin County numbers," he describes.

The site connects users with detailed local public health data that can help families assess the risk of contracting COVID-19.

An app will be out soon.

"People are dying each day and it’s just one of those things where, you know, if one person can be saved by this I consider that a win, and that’s kind of my logic behind it," he said.

His creation earned him top honors in the 2020 Congressional App Challenge in Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District.

"I am always so impressed by the passion, energy and talent of our students," said Rep. Dean Phillips, of Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District.

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"Now more than ever, we need thoughtful young people like Connor who care about our country and want to make a difference. It’s going to take all of us, working together, to get through this pandemic as healthy, economically sound, and prepared for the future as possible," Phillips added.

On the University of Minnesota campus in the Twin Cities, School of Public Health Associate Professor Eva Enns is working hard on the impact of COVID-19 on holiday gatherings.

"What I started with first is what’s the risk of an individual gathering and that depends on how many people are there and from how many different households they are from," she said.

Enns created a holiday gathering tool where users can input key data such as group size, current COVID-19 infection rates and percentage of similar groups getting together.

The tool then predicts the number of new infections likely to emerge from a gathering.

"It really matters what happens when we all do this, and thinking of our healthcare workers and kind of the burden that we are putting on our state when they have to care for a large surge in infections because we all happen to be doing this at the same time," Enns said.

She hopes the tool will help Minnesotans understand the greater impact, and is now working to bring it to other areas of the world.
"Even though the risk for an individual action taken seems small, a small risk taken many, many times translates to a large impact," she added.