Published on August 6th, 2020 📆 | 3891 Views ⚑0
Virginia Rolls Out First U.S. Covid-19 Tracing App Using Apple And Google Technology
Virginia launched a free Covid-19 contact-tracing app Wednesday, becoming the first state to use technology Apple and Google created in May to aid in the response to the pandemic — the launch comes as public health officials have criticized the Trump administration’s objections to creating national standards for testing and contact tracing, leaving it up to the states.
Apple and Google released underlying technology that allows public health authorities to create their own contact-tracing apps.
Virginia’s free COVIDWISE app, available in Apple and Android app stores as of Wednesday, uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology to alert users who have come into contact with an individual who has tested positive for Covid-19.
At a press conference Wednesday Gov. Ralph Northam said the app “does not track or store your personal information” which was reiterated in a statement from his office.
Users have the option to choose to receive exposure notifications and someone diagnosed with Covid-19 can choose if they want to anonymously share their results.
No location data or personal information is collected, stored, tracked or transmitted to The Virginia Department of Health, according to the statement.
Canada and a number of countries in Europe and elsewhere have already rolled out apps using the technology, but a June Business Insider report found that only three U.S. states had confirmed plans to use the technology, Alabama, South Carolina and North Dakota, and 17 states said they were against building contact-tracing apps entirely.
“Knowing your exposure history allows you to self-quarantine effectively, seek timely medical attention, and reduce potential exposure risk. The more Virginians use COVIDWISE, the greater the likelihood that you will receive timely exposure notifications that lead to effective disease prevention,” State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, said in the announcement.
Some public health officials have said that while technology can help with the contact-tracing process, it is still essential to hire thousands of contract tracers, humans who are trained to track down and notify people who have been potentially exposed. Public health experts at Johns Hopkins University predicted a need for at least 100,000 contact tracers in the U.S. at a time when unemployment numbers are high. In some states like New York, contact tracers can make about $57,000 per year and earn benefits, according to CNBC.
4,748,806. That is how many confirmed Covid-19 cases there were in the U.S. as of Tuesday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
State Approaches to Contact Tracing during the COVID-19 Pandemic (National Academy For State Health Policy)
Alabama, North Dakota And South Carolina To Debut Apple And Google’s Covid-19 Contact Tracing (Forbes)
Who Wants to Be a Contact Tracer? (Bloomberg)
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