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Wisconsin unveils mobile app to track coronavirus spread

contact tracing general
contact tracing general(KVLY)
Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 4:11 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A new mobile app will launch next week in Wisconsin that will let people know if they have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, Gov. Tony Ever announced Thursday.

The app, which launches Wednesday, Dec. 23, is meant to bolster the state’s contact tracing efforts. It is voluntary to download and does not collect, use or store GPS data or personal information, the governor’s office said. Basically, when a phone’s Bluetooth is active, the app will recognize a signal from other phones with the app if they’re close enough, for long enough, to exchange a long string of ever-changing numbers.

People who test positive for the virus will receive a code to be entered into the app, which will then anonymously notify devices that their phone has shared Bluetooth signals with during the period of time they may have been contagious.

The “WI Exposure Notification” app will complement the state’s efforts to notify people who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus, Evers said. Wisconsin residents with smart phones will receive a push notification within days of the app going live, Evers’ office said.

“Because it lets you know faster if you’ve been in close contact with someone who’s tested positive, you can take steps to keep yourself safe and protect those around you,” he said.

Evers and state health officials urged people to use the app, as it is more effective the more people who use it.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.