NYS launches COVID-19 app, will alert you if you're near someone who has tested positive

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Posted at 12:11 PM, Oct 01, 2020

NEW YORK (WKBW) — New York State has launched an app that will notify you if you're within six feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The app, COVID Alert NY, is available for download for Apple and Android devices. It uses Bluetooth technology - not geographic - and does not track or store any personal information, according to the governor's office.

“It’s using technology really in a way it’s never been used before," Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters on a conference call this morning.

In a tweet, Cuomo said "New York just launched COVID Alert NY, an exposure app that will alert you if you were in contact with someone who has COVID. The app will never track your location & is completely anonymous. Protect your community, yourself & your privacy. Download the app today."

Cuomo says when a person tests positive, health officials contact the individual for contact tracing purposes. The person is asked if they want to volunteer to share their cell phone information for purposes of contact tracing through the app. No names are associated with the program.

If you are within six feet of a person who has tested positive, the app will send you an alert advising you to stay home, contact your doctor, and reach out for additional testing information.

The official website for the app says it is a voluntary, anonymous, exposure-notification smartphone app.

"You will get an alert if you were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Knowing about a potential exposure allows you to self-quarantine immediately, get tested and reduce the potential exposure risk to your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and others. The more people who download COVID Alert NY, the more effective it will be. Help protect your community while maintaining your privacy."

New York, New Jersey and Delaware are online with the app, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. Connecticut will be online soon, Cuomo said, and the technology will be made available to any other state interested.

The governor's office says the technology has been thoroughly vetted by security officials and is intended to take contact tracing to the next level while also giving New Yorkers peace of mind.

The cost of the app, $700,000, is being paid for with federal funding and contributions from the Bloomberg Philanthropy Organization.

For more information you can visit the website here.