Earlier this week, the Department of Health (DOH) released the COVID Alert Exposure Notification App, which is now available and can be downloaded for free in the Google and Apple stores (links provided below). The COVID Alert PA is a free mobile App using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology and the Exposure Notification System developed by Apple and Google. The app offers:
- Interactive COVID-19 symptom checker
- Opt-in for alerts for potential exposures to the virus
- Updates on the latest public health data about COVID-19 in PA
- Advice for what to do if you have a potential exposure to COVID-19
COVID Alert PA protects both privacy and personal information. The app does not use GPS, location services, or any movement or geographical information. It will never collect, transmit, or store personal information. It is completely anonymous.
Existing traditional contact tracing processes rely on a positive individual to remember and name who they have been in contact with recently, and for how long. In many cases, positive COVID-19 individuals may not even know the people they were in close contact with, like if the contact happened on a bus or train, at a check-out line in a grocery store, a restaurant or some other public venue.
The app supplements traditional contact tracing processes by being able to identify strangers a positive app user came in contact with and help stop the rapid spread of COVID-19. If the app detects that you have been in close contact with another user who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will receive a push notification on your phone. This is called an exposure alert and will be followed by what you should do to monitor your own health. You can learn more about the app and how it works here.
The Department of Human Services is committed to supporting this effort and helping protect the people we serve encouraging use of COVID Alert PA. This technology only works if others have downloaded the app, which is why they are asking all Pennsylvanians to unite against COVID and download the app.
DOH also has an extensive catalog of marketing materials including posters, social media posts, press releases, and other customizable content if you are interested in helping them to get the word out.