Virginia first to launch new COVID exposure notification app

Virginia will be the first state to test the new Apple and Google app called COVIDWISE. The app is designed to alert users if they have come into contact with a person or persons who have tested positive for the Coronavirus. According to a release from Governor Ralph Northam, the new technology will not require the use of personal information or location data. 

“We must continue to fight COVID-19 from every possible angle,”said Governor Northam. “The COVIDWISE exposure notification app gives you an additional tool to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community, while maintaining your personal privacy. I encourage all Virginians to download and use this app, so we can work together to contain this virus.”  

COVIDWISE relies on Bluetooth technology to “detect when someone who downloaded the app has spent time near another app user who later tests positive for the virus. Those who download Virginia’s app get a message that it is “100% voluntary” and doesn’t use location-tracking technology such as GPS or collect personal information that can be used to identify someone.”

Those who test positive for the COVID-19 virus will be issued a unique code by their Virginia Department of Health case investigator. That code will be entered into the COVIDWISE app and “serves as verification of a positive report.” Users who have been in close proximity with a positive case will receive an alert reading, “You have likely been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.” 

The alert will include the estimated number of days since the user was exposed to the virus and offers options for taking further action, including “contacting a primary care physician or local health department, monitoring symptoms, and finding nearby test locations. The Virtual VDH tab in the app provides links to online resources and important phone numbers.

The individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 will have the option of choosing to share their results anonymously through the app. The VDH reiterates that no personal information is ever “collected, tracked, stored, or transmitted through COVIDWISE.  

To learn more about COVIDWISE and the download the app or visit covidwise.org