Nevada expands COVID Trace app capabilities

source https://www.nevadaappeal.com/news/nevada-expands-covid-trace-app-capabilities/

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public and Behavioral Health is expanding the capabilities of the COVID Trace app by launching Exposure Notification Express through a partnership with Apple and Google, according to a news release.

Nevada is the first jurisdiction to launch both ENX and have an application using the technology. ENX is available in all Apple devices and COVID Trace will also continue to be available in both the iOS App Store and Android’s Google Play Store.

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. The two systems work together and users that opt-in to ENX will build on the current users of COVID Trace.

“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.”

Users can enable ENX in their iPhone settings on iOS devices. Devices using iOS 13.7 and later can enable the capability to inform people of potential exposure to COVID-19.

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.

These tools accelerate how quickly people are notified of a possible COVID-19 exposure, giving individuals the information needed to make responsible decisions around quarantine and testing.

“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.”

The COVID Trace app currently has more than 130,000 downloads. Using COVID Trace and ENX is voluntary and free. These tools were developed with privacy and security at their foundation, and the Division is dedicated to ensuring the system keeps all users anonymous. It does not use device location to detect exposures and does not share your identity with other users.

For information, visit nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/covidtrace/.

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