COVID Exposure Site Alerts

Be the first to know!

The Victorian Government is currently publishing and regularly updating a list of sites in Victoria where there has been a risk of exposure to COVID-19.
The list is available here: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/exposure-sites.

This service automatically checks the exposure site list approximately every 5 minutes, and sends an email alert if the list has been updated.
The list is typically updated 5 to 10 times a day and you can expect that number of emails, though this number is highly dependent on the case numbers.

NOTE: Emails to Hotmail / Outlook and certain other addresses may be undelivered or going to spam. For best results, add covid-alert@rkm.icu to your contacts and safe senders list.

Feedback, suggestions, bugs?

Please feel free to email any feedback, suggestions or bugs to covid-alert@rkm.icu.

This service is provided independently and is not endorsed, funded or supported by the Victorian Government. Please do not contact the Victorian Government / Department of Health about this service, as it is not maintained by them.

Known issues and updates

Updates

  • 19/07/2021: Minor improvements

    • Bug fix: 24 hourly update now issues at 8:59am and 8:59pm to avoid conflict with 5 minute job, and now contains 24.5 hours of updates to be safe.

    • Improvement: 24 hourly update now sorted by suburb, and contains information about when the DHHS first reportedly added the site, and when this script first sighted the addition.

  • 19/07/2021: Bug fixes and improvements.

    • Bug fixes: typographical errors in certain emails fixed

    • Daily update option now available: you can now receive an update at 9am or 9pm for the previous 24 hours of updates, as opposed to 5 minute updates.

  • 06/06/2021: Multiple improvements.

    • The email now includes your name in the "To" field.

    • The signup form has been moved from Google Forms to a custom solution.

    • The signup form now sends confirmation emails.

    • Emails now include a one-click unsubscribe link.

  • 05/06/2021: The backend now runs on Google Cloud Compute Engine. This should improve reliability of the check process.

Known issues

  • From time to time, the source data is updated without the addition of new sites. For example, the site name, address, exposure date etc. may be changed for clarification or to correct a typographical error. As the automated script compares the site name and exposure date, these updates may trigger a new alert, suggesting the addition of a new site, when in fact, an existing site has been updated. There are no plans to change this behaviour, as these changes may be important in identifying whether one has been to an exposure site.

  • Sites are typically removed either 14 days after the exposure event, or if it is determined an exposure site was a false positive. The automated script does not send alerts when sites are removed for any reason.

  • Emails sent to inboxes hosted by Microsoft (e.g. Hotmail / Outlook / Live / Office 365 / Exchange Online) are often going to spam, or not being delivered. This is due to Microsoft refusing to take delivery of the email, due to their spam filter policies. My script uses SendGrid to send emails, and this uses a pool of shared IP addresses to send emails. It appears one of the IP addresses in the pool has been blocked by Microsoft for abuse / spam, which is preventing all emails from that IP address being delivered to Microsoft hosted inboxes.

  • Emails sent to inboxes using the SpamCop list to determine sender IP reputation (e.g. Mimecast) are also often going to spam, for the same reason as above.

Improvements considered:

  • Replace the Google Form with a proper email list signup form. (Implemented 06/06/2021)

  • Send the information by SMS. This is relatively easy to implement using services such as Twilio, but costs are prohibitive.

  • Implement push notifications. This is being considered, but is constrained largely by time.

Your privacy

This form collects your name and email. Your name and email will be stored on a database, and used for the sole purpose of sending the alert emails and any service information (e.g. if there was an error in the data emailed). Your data will also be disclosed to the email service provider for the sole purpose of sending the alert emails, and may be stored on their systems for analytics, diagnostics and audit purposes. Your data will not be used for any other purpose. Your data will be retained even after you unsubscribe to prevent abuse of this service. If you wish to have your name and email fully removed, please email covid-alert@rkm.icu with your request.

How this works

An automated script coded in PHP obtains the latest exposure site data, as published on the Data.Vic website. The data is then copied into a database. A comparison is made between the sites on the latest list with the sites on the previous list to determine whether any new sites have been added. If it is determined that new sites have been added, the script will generate an email and send it using SendGrid.