Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced the availability of the COVID Alert PA app that can notify users if they may have been exposed to COVID-19 without revealing their identity or location. Since the announcement, 50,000 Pennsylvanians have downloaded the app, and the governor is encouraging more to follow suit.
“I encourage all Pennsylvanians to download the app on a personal mobile device to help in the fight against COVID-19,” Gov. Wolf said. “The more people who download the app, the more effective it will be in helping to stop the spread of COVID. Please download it today and make your phone part of the fight.”
COVID Alert PA is a free, voluntary mobile app developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health in partnership with NearForm, UPenn and MIT Lincoln Laboratory using the Apple and Google Exposure Notification System. The app’s features include an 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 and advice for what to do if you have a potential exposure to COVID-19.
The app is designed with privacy at the forefront. The app does not use GPS, location services, or any movement or geographical information. It will never collect, transmit or store personal information. In other words, it is completely anonymous.
Here’s how COVID Alert PA works:
- The app uses anonymous Bluetooth low energy proximity technology to know when your phone is within 6 feet of another phone with the app for 15 minutes or more.
- When an app user confirms a positive COVID-19 test result in the app, it will check to see if it matches any of the anonymous Bluetooth close contact interactions your phone has had over the last 14 days.
- If there is a match, COVID Alert PA may send an alert after taking into account the date, duration of exposure and the Bluetooth signal strength (which is used to estimate how close your phone was to the phone of the person having a positive test result).
“Our success in overcoming the virus depends on all of us and our collective behaviors, including wearing a mask, social distancing, proper hygiene and staying home if you feel sick,” Dr. Levine said. “The COVID Alert PA app is an additional powerful tool that can be used on a voluntary basis to help keep yourself and those you care about safe.”
Find more information on the COVID Alert Pennsylvania app here.