Governor Wolf Announces COVID Alert PA App

Dear WCU Golden Rams,

Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced the launch of COVID Alert PA, a free mobile exposure notification app that has been designed to help all of us combat the spread of COVID-19. The app, which can be accessed in English and Spanish, is available to smartphone users as a download from the Apple App store or Google Play store. The free app is currently available to all Pennsylvanians and is entirely voluntary.

As a useful tool, COVID Alert PA uses Exposure Notification System technology developed by Apple and Google. If you have been in close contact with another user who later tested positive for COVID-19, A COVID-19 Exposure Alert notification will be sent to your phone. Tapping on the notification will send public health guidance to you on what to do next. The app also provides users with the latest information on COVID-19 in Pennsylvania from the department’s COVID-19 data dashboard.

The app does not enable any location or tracking services, and is designed to be completely anonymous. The Exposure Notification System works by using Bluetooth Low Energy, which allows a phone with the app to recognize when it is close to another phone. Proximity is the only thing measured between phones.

COVID Alert PA app helps support traditional contact tracing processes. When the Department of Health contacts the COVID-19 positive individual to discuss their diagnosis, learn how they are feeling, and understand who may have been exposed to them, the public health representative provides a unique six-digit validation code to the individual to enter into the app. Once this step has been completed, the app will be able to alert other app users who have been in close contact with the COVID-19 positive individual. This Exposure Alert does not reveal the identity of the COVID-19 positive individual or their whereabouts. The Department of Health also does not know the identity of app users who receive alerts; the department will only see the number of exposure notifications generated on any given date.

COVID Alert PA is a partnership between Pennsylvania and Delaware, along with NearForm, University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory.

More information about the COVID Alert PA app and other resources can be found here:

Zebulun R. Davenport

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