First COVID-tracking app launches in the US

National

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The first exposure notification app launched in the U.S. this week which allows people to know if they were around someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

You can go to your phone and find a setting called COVID exposure logging, but you cannot do anything with it in Michigan.

The only place in the country that can use it right now is Virginia because of its public health app that just came out called COVIDWISE.

It cost the state about $258,000 to put together — development started in late May — and lets you know if you’ve come into contact with someone with COVID-19 in the last two weeks.

There’s no GPS and no personally identifying information — just short-range Bluetooth connections that remember other phones that crossed your path.

If you test positive, it’s entirely on you to log it into the app with a six-digit PIN code from the health department.

“You are the one who would have to use that PIN to put that into the COVIDWISE app in order to report that positive result,” said Jeff Stover, the executive program advisor at the Virginia Department of Health. “The reason that’s done is, so we don’t have rogue individuals who enter a lot of fake positive tests.”

Other states will release similar apps inside of the next month.

When it comes to Michigan, the state has had communication with Virginia, but the Department of Health and Human Services did not confirm any plans for an app.

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