New COVID-19 tracking app now available for Virginians
VIRGINIA – Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced the launch of COVIDWISE. It’s an app that alerts users if they have been in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19. Virginia is the first state in the country to design and app like this – as it doesn’t rely on personal information or location data. Instead, it works off of a new type of Bluetooth technology developed by Apple and Google.
The way that it works is the users’ app will anonymously share random Bluetooth keys with others who are also using the app nearby. The keys change every 10 to 20 minutes. Devices with the app installed will share the keys if they are within close proximity for at least 15 minutes. At the end of each day – the device downloads a list of all the random keys associated with positive COVID-19 results submitted by other app users. It then compares them to a list of keys it has come across in the last two weeks. If there is a match, the app will notify the user.
Those who test positive for COVID-19 will be notified by a Virginia Department of Health case investigator and given a unique code. The code is entered into the app by the user and verifies a positive reports. Others who have downloaded the app and have been in close proximity to a positive user will get a notice that reads “You have likely been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.”
The notice will also tell the user how long it’s been since the potential exposure and provides resources for getting tested and monitoring symptoms. Anyone who downloads the app has the option to choose to receive exposure notifications. If a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is up to them whether or not to share their result anonymously through COVIDWISE.
COVIDWISE is available through Apple’s App Store or Google Play.