LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public and Behavioral Health, is expanding the COVID Trace app’s capabilities by launching Exposure Notification Express, also known as ENX. According to the State, the app is through a partnership with Apple and Google, and it will be available starting Thursday, Dec. 10.
“We have worked hard to develop innovative approaches to combat the virus that causes COVID-19. These tools are an additional piece of our response aimed at keeping Nevadans safe and healthy through this pandemic,” said Julia Peek, Deputy Administrator for the Division overseeing contact tracing efforts in Nevada. “The addition of Exposure Notification Express opens this functionality up to even more Nevadans. The process continues to be completely anonymous, private and secure.”
Nevada is the first jurisdiction to launch both ENX and have an application using the technology, the state said. ENX will be available on all Apple devices, and COVID Trace will also continue to be available in both the iOS App Store and Android’s Google Play Store.
According to the state, Nevadans can opt-in to receive COVID-19 notifications informing them if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus. ENX and COVID Trace both use the Bluetooth-based technology, Exposure Notification, developed by Apple and Google to aid in slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Here’s how it works: The two systems work together, and users that opt-in to ENX will build on the current users of COVID Trace.
Again, users of the app can enable ENX in their iPhone settings on iOS devices on Dec. 10. Devices using iOS 13.7 and later can enable the capability to inform people of potential exposure to COVID-19. Nevadans may start receiving availability alerts from their phones as early as Thursday.
According to the state, when individuals voluntarily activate ENX, the tool uses Bluetooth technology to exchange random codes between phones without revealing the user’s identity or location. If an ENX or COVID Trace user tests positive for COVID-19, they will receive a verification code from a disease investigator to plug into the app, if they choose. Any other users who have been within 6-feet for 15 minutes or more of the COVID-19 positive individual will get an anonymous notification of possible exposure.
Officials hope this will help people make responsible decisions to quarantine or get tested right away.
“When combined with other actions like wearing masks and physical distancing, COVID Trace and ENX can help prevent the transmission of COVID-19,” said Dr. Ihsan Azzam, Nevada’s Chief Medical Officer. “The sooner people know they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, the sooner they can take action to prevent the further spread of the virus. These tools are just another way Nevadans can take ownership of their role in keeping loved ones and community safe.”
Thus far, the COVID Trace app currently has more than 130,000 downloads. Using COVID Trace and ENX is voluntary and free.