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Wyoming launches COVID-19 exposure notification app with new bluetooth technology

(KCRG)
Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 7:15 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (PRESS RELEASE) - Governor Mark Gordon today announced that Wyoming has launched Care19 Alert, an innovative exposure notification app that will alert users if they have been in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Wyoming is one of the first states in the country to launch a COVID-19 app using Bluetooth Low Energy technology developed by Apple and Google, which does not rely on personal information or location data. Users opt-in to download and utilize the free app.

”The Care19 Alert notification app provides Wyoming with another tool to fight COVID-19 while protecting your personal privacy,” Governor Gordon said. “The more Wyomingites who choose to download and use this app, the more successful we can be in protecting lives and slowing the spread of the virus.”

The free app is available to download through the App Store and the Google Play Store. Care19 Alert is the only app in Wyoming allowed to use the exposure notifications system (ENS) application programming interface (API) jointly created by Apple and Google. Other countries, including Ireland and Germany, have successfully used this technology in similar apps.

By using Care19 Alert in conjunction with the original Care19 app, Care19 Diary, residents can maximize the number of people who can be notified of exposure. Both apps maintain users’ privacy and work seamlessly to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by providing timely notifications to a broad range of users in an efficient and secure manner. Care19 Alert works by using random Bluetooth keys that change every 10 to 20 minutes. iOS and Android devices that have the app installed will anonymously share these random keys if they are within close proximity for at least 15 minutes. Each day, the device downloads a list of all random keys associated with positive COVID-19 results submitted by other app users and checks them against the list of random keys it has encountered in the last 14 days. If there is a match, Care19 Alert may notify the individual, taking into account the date and duration of exposure, and the Bluetooth signal strength which is used to estimate proximity.

Care19 is the first Exposure Notification application to connect with the National Key Server being hosted by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL). This allows Wyomingites to be protected when they are travelling across state borders or when others are visiting Wyoming and subsequently test positive for COVID-19. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) and if you consent your application will be enabled to allow you to notify others. Only verified positive users will be able to notify others. Others who have downloaded Care19 Alert and have been in close proximity to the individual who reported as being positive will receive a notice which reads, “You have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19,” and a link to take you to instructions provided by the WDH.

The notice includes the estimated number of days since the exposure and provides several options for taking further action, including contacting a primary care physician or local health department, monitoring symptoms, and finding nearby test locations. The Info tab within the app also provides links to online resources and relevant phone numbers.Anyone who downloads the app has the option to choose to receive exposure notifications, and if a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is up to them whether or not to share their result anonymously through Care19 Alert. No location data or personal information is ever collected, stored, tracked, or transmitted to Wyoming Department of Health as part of the app. Users have the ability to delete the app or turn off exposure notifications at any time.

To learn more about Care19 Alert and download the app, visit https://covid19.wyo.gov/care19-app

Copyright 2020 Wyoming News Now. All rights reserved.

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