digital civility

Wyoming Launches Coronavirus Exposure App

in News/Coronavirus

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming has launched a COVID-19 exposure notification app that will alert users if they have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Gov. Mark Gordon announced the availability of the Care19 Alert app Friday in a news release.

Wyoming is one of the first states in the country to launch a COVID-19 app that doesn’t rely on personal information or location data. Users opt in to download and use the free app.

“The Care19 Alert notification app provides Wyoming with another tool to fight COVID-19 while protecting your personal privacy,” Gordon said in the release. “The more Wyomingites who choose to download and use this app, the more successful we can be in protecting lives and slowing the spread of the virus.”

Care19 Alert works by using random Bluetooth keys that change every 10 to 20 minutes. iOS and Android devices that have the app installed will anonymously share these random keys if they are within close proximity for at least 15 minutes.

Each day, the device downloads a list of all random keys associated with positive COVID-19 results submitted by other app users and checks them against the list of random keys it has encountered in the last 14 days.

If there is a match, Care19 Alert may notify the individual, taking into account the date and duration of exposure and the Bluetooth signal strength which is used to estimate proximity.

Other countries, including Ireland and Germany, have successfully used this technology in similar apps.

The free app is available to download through the App Store and the Google Play Store. Care19 Alert is the only app in Wyoming allowed to use the exposure notifications system (ENS) application programming interface (API) jointly created by Apple and Google.

By using Care19 Alert in conjunction with the original Care19 app, Care19 Diary, residents can maximize the number of people who can be notified of exposure. Both apps maintain users’ privacy and work seamlessly to reduce the spread of the coronavirus by providing timely notifications to a broad range of users in an efficient and secure manner.

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