California expands smartphone COVID-19 alert tool statewide

source https://abc7news.com/health/calif-expands-smartphone-covid-19-alert-tool-statewide/8584265/

California is rolling out a voluntary smartphone tool to alert people if they spent time near someone who tests positive for the coronavirus as cases and hospitalizations soar throughout the state, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday.

The tool doesn’t track people’s identities or locations but uses Bluetooth wireless signals to detect when two phones are within 6 feet (1.8 meters) of each other for at least 15 minutes, officials said. Newsom said it will be ready for use on Thursday.


“The process is private, anonymous and secure, and is one of the many tools in the state’s data-driven approach to help reduce the spread,” Newsom, a Democrat, said in a statement.

For instructions on how to download the app on your phone, click here.

RELATED: ‘Vast majority’ of California under stay-at-home order as ICU capacity reaches critical levels, Newsom says

Sixteen other states, plus Guam and Washington, D.C., have already made available the system co-created by Apple and Google, though most residents of those places aren’t using it. The tool has been used on a pilot basis on University of California campuses to try to track virus cases.

The announcement came as coronavirus cases are exploding in California and more than 80 percent of the state’s residents are under orders not to leave their homes for at least the next three weeks except for essential purposes.

EMBED >More News Videos