COVID-19 pandemic: Michigan launches exposure notification app
Lansing, MI — In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, two Michigan agencies have developed a coronavirus exposure notification app.
The anonymous, no-cost MI COVID Alert app – voluntary for state residents – informs users if they’ve recently been exposed to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Users also can confidentially submit positive test results into the app to alert others in recent proximity that they may have been exposed.
Announced by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, the app was piloted in October on the campus of Michigan State University and in Ingham County, where it was downloaded by nearly 47,000 people – or about 23% of the county’s 18- to 64-year-olds.
A user who tests positive will receive a randomly generated personal identification number from a local health department or a state case investigator that allows them to anonymously share their results via the app. To protect users’ privacy, the app uses random phone codes and low-energy Bluetooth technology – instead of GPS location – to identify close contact with other phones that also have the app.
“COVID cases and deaths are now rising fast,” Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon said in a Nov. 9 press release. “Using MI COVID Alert on your cellphone is a simple, safe step that everyone can take to protect themselves and their loved ones. It’s free, it’s easy and it protects your privacy.”