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Californians Can Track COVID-19 Exposure By Smartphone

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Sacramento, CA — Governor Gavin Newsom announced the launch of a new program that will help cell phone users learn if they have come into close contact with a COVID-19 positive person.

The “California Notify” digital tool was created in partnership between Apple and Google. Beginning on Thursday, Android users will have the option of downloading the California Notify app, whereas I-Phone users simply need to go into the settings and turn on “exposure notification.”

When someone tests positive for COVID-19, the California Public Health Department will provide a code that will send out an anonymous notification to anyone who came into close contact with the person. Close contact is defined as being within six feet for 15 minutes.

Newsom stresses that California Notify does not share a user’s identity or store data. He said it is “private, secure and voluntary.” It utilizes bluetooth technology to exchange random codes.

It is not being done in the place of contact tracing, but Newsom called it “another tool in the toolbox” to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

The concept was tested in a pilot program earlier this fall at UC San Francisco and UC San Diego. For more information about CA Notify, click here.