Governor Announces COVID-19 Exposure Notification Mobile App
With efforts to slow the rapid spread of COVID-19, Gov. Tim Walz unveiled a new mobile app. The COVIDaware MN app anonymously alerts users if they’ve been in contact to someone who has the disease.
“This innovative technology protects the privacy of Minnesotans and collects no data about a user,” said Tarek Tomes, CIO and commissioner of Minnesota IT Services. “If Minnesotans opt in and follow health recommendations when notified of an exposure, we will slow the spread of COVID-19 and be one step closer to returning to many of the activities we miss so much.”
COVIDaware MN App
The COVIDaware MN app was created by Massachusetts-based nonprofit PathCheck Foundation. The organization has partnered so far with more than 20 states, including Minnesota.
To get alerts, users have to download the app and allow notifications. COVIDaware MN generates a random ID number that changes frequently to protect privacy. The app does not track locations, nor does it reveal the user’s identity. It also does not share the user’s identity with others including Google, Apple or the state of Minnesota.
“As we see a dangerous surge in cases across the state, we need to use every tool possible to cut off the spread of the virus,” said Governor Walz. “COVIDaware MN gives our state a powerful and anonymous new tool to alert others we’ve had close contact with – even people we don’t know – and slow the spread of COVID-19.”
How It Works
Download the free mobile app. Once an individual tests positive for COVID-19, a health department will contact them to give them a verification code. If the individual wants to anonymously notify those around them, the individual can voluntarily enter the code into the app.
When the COVID-19 patient is within 6 feet from someone for 15 minutes or more, the app will alert that person in 12 to 24 hours that they’ve been exposed. The app will not say where the person was exposed nor by whom. It’ll only give a broad time range. The app uses Bluetooth to determine the distance and to signal other phones.