Alabamians urged to download COVID-19 exposure app

Alabamians urged to download COVID-19 exposure app
COVID-19 exposure app available to public. (Source: wsfa)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The public now can access an app aimed at alerting people if they were possibly exposed to COVID-19.

People can voluntarily download the GuideSafe Exposure Notification App. The app was built by UAB and MotionMobs, a Birmingham-based software company, using Apple and Google’s Exposure Notification System. The project was funded with $30 million of CARES Act money.

“This will be an extremely powerful tool for us in combating this virus,” said Dr. Karen Landers with ADPH.

Some can anonymously report if they’ve received a positive test and officials say it will notify other app users that they’ve been in close-contact. Close contact is being within six feet from someone for at least 15 minutes.

Officials stressed that private information is not recorded or shared.

“The app never records location, identity or accesses your contact list. It does not use GPS technology,” Dr. Curt Carver at UAB. “Let me say that again. The app never records location or identity.”

Instead, the app gives each user encrypted codes that change every 15-20 minutes for added security. The app exchanges those codes with other users who are within 6-feet for 15 minutes or longer via Bluetooth.

“But instead augments their life-saving work by using the power of technology to notify those who you do not know or cannot remember coming in contact with, even before the health department reaches out to you after a positive test,” Carver said.

North Dakota and South Carolina have publicly said they would use a notification system similar to this. Virginia has its program up and running.

“And we cannot stress enough how vital it is for all Alabamians who are able to do so to download this app because we must work together to defeat this virus, we must work as individuals,” Landers said.

To learn more about the GuideSafe exposure notification app, click here.

The app is available for Apple or Android devices.

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