COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) – Colorado will be the first state in the country to deploy a phone app to help track COVID-19 cases.
Colorado State partnered with Google and Apple to develop the “Exposure Notification Express”, which will go live on Sunday.
The application is expected to notify users if they are possibly exposed to COVID-19.
From 9am on Sunday morning, Coloradans will receive a notification on their phones, allowing them to choose whether they want to use the app or not. The app is available for both iPhones and Android. Users can opt-out of the system at any time.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment believes the new exposure notification app will accelerate contact tracing efforts.
If you and someone close to you comes with the app on your phone, your phone is called “token” via Bluetooth. Those “tokens” hold close conversations for 14 days. If a person who has an app test positive for COVID-19, those having “close contact” with that person will be alerted if the COVID-19 patient allows.
“You’ll get an alert on your phone that says on an X-date, you might be made aware of COVID,” said Sarah Tunberg of CDPHE.
KRDO asked state health officials how they would protect the personal information of coloradans if they used the app. State officials claim that even if the system is hacked, no relevant or personal information will be compromised.
“The technology could not be more secure. No personally identifiable data is collected. It uses Bluetooth and uses GPS. So there is no location information. There are no names. No test data No. There is no health information, “Tunburg said.
So what information is processed to know who will be notified? Officials say it is about those “tokens”, which consist of apparently random numbers and letters.
“The only information associated with it is a random string of letters and numbers that is generated on the phone itself and traded back and forth with other phones, and that’s so. If you can hack into a phone or database. “All of you will end up with is a series of letters and numbers,” Tunberg explained.
Public health leaders told KRDO that the study suggests that if 15% of the community uses the app, it could reduce COVID-19 transmission by 8% and coronovirus deaths by 6%.
For iPhone users, the exposure notification system will be a settings option. Android users will be required to download an app in the Google Play Store.