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State Rolls Out New COVID-19 Exposure Notification System

woman with mask on looking at cell phone

California launched a voluntary smartphone tool designed to alert people if they have spent time near someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Announced earlier this week, the CA Notify app uses a new smartphone feature called “exposure notifications” that users opt-in to receive.

The app allows people who test positive for COVID-19 to anonymously inform people who have been in close proximity over the previous two weeks that they may have been exposed. It uses Bluetooth technology to exchange so-called anonymous keys.

Here's what to know about the mobile app. 

  • The tool doesn’t track people’s identities or locations but uses Bluetooth wireless signals to detect when two phones are within 6 feet of each other for at least 15 minutes, officials said. 
  • Residents will be able to activate the tool in their iPhone settings -- make sure you're using version 13.7 or later -- or on Android phones by downloading the CA Notify app from the Google Play store. 
  • The encounters are temporarily logged in a way that doesn’t reveal a person’s identity or geographic location. 
  • If people who have activated the technology test positive for the virus, they get a verification code from the California Department of Public Health and can use that to send an anonymous alert to other participating phone users they might have exposed over the past 14 days. 

How quickly you receive the notification depends on when the other person received a positive result and how quickly he or she consented to activate notifications in CA Notify. 

For more information, visit this link.

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