Harrisburg, PA – More than 165,000 Pennsylvanians have downloaded the COVID Alert PA exposure notification mobile app in the first week since the app was released to the Apple and Google app stores.
However, given that there are about 12.8 million people who live in Pennsylvania, that’s still just about 1 or 2 percent of the people who live in the state.
Governor Tom Wolf is continuing to encourage people to download the contact tracing app, thanking those who have already used it and touting it as a “simple, secure way to protect communities from COVID-19”.
The free, voluntary app uses bluetooth technology to make a note of other app users who you come within six feet of for 15 minutes or more.
If any of those people update their app to say they positive for COVID-19, it then anonymously alerts any app users who might need to get tested or quarantine.
Read the press release from Gov. Tom Wolf’s office:
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced that more than 165,000 Pennsylvanians have downloaded the COVID Alert PA exposure notification mobile app in the first week since the app was released to the Apple and Google app stores.
“Thank you to all of the Pennsylvanians who have already downloaded the COVID Alert PA app and added their phone to the fight against COVID-19,” Gov. Wolf said. “This is a simple, secure way that each and every one of us can help protect our communities from COVID-19, and I encourage every Pennsylvanian to download the app today. When we unite to stop COVID-19, we accomplish much more than we ever could alone.”
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, alerts of potential exposures to the virus, updates on the latest public health data about COVID-19 in PA and public health guidance for what to do if you have a potential exposure to COVID-19.
“Pennsylvanians are united in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, and they are downloading the app to make sure their phone is part of the fight,” Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. “The more Pennsylvanians who download this app, the more effective it will be at slowing the spread of COVID-19. This app does not track your location or movement; it uses Bluetooth technology to send a COVID-19 exposure notification if you have been in close contact with someone who later tested positive for 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. The app does collect user statistics like the number of downloads or the symptom check-in demographics that people can voluntarily share. In the first week of availability, we know:
There were 165,678 downloads onto smartphone devices;
There were an average of 23,659 COVID Check-Ins for symptoms per day; and
Around 96 percent of app users reported “feeling good” during their COVID Check-In per day.
Here’s how COVID Alert PA works:
The app uses anonymous Bluetooth low energy proximity technology to know when your phone is within six 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 exposure 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).
The more people who download the app, the more effective it will be in helping to stop the spread of COVID. The app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “COVID Alert PA.”
Find more information on the COVID Alert PA app here.