COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (KRDO) – Colorado will be the first state in the country to deploy a telephone application to help track COVID-19 cases.
Colorado is partnering with Google and Apple to develop the Exposure Notification Express, which will be released live on Sunday.
The application is expected to notify users if they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
From Sunday morning at 9, Coloradans will receive a notification on their phones, allowing them to choose whether to use the app or not. The application is available for both iPhone and Android. Users can opt out of the system at any time.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment believes the new exposure notification app will accelerate contact tracking efforts.
If you and someone you are in close contact with both have the app on your phone, your phones will exchange so-called “tokens”
“You would receive a warning on your phone telling X-date that you may have been exposed to COVID,” said Sarah Tunneberg of CDPHE.
KRDO asked public health officials how Coloradans’ personal information would be protected if they used the app. Government officials say that even if the system is hacked, there will be no compromised relevant or personal information.
“The technology couldn’t be safer. No personal data is being collected. It uses Bluetooth, not GPS. So there’s no location information. No names. No test data. No health information,” Tuneberg said.
So what information is being processed to know who will be notified? Officials say it all has to do with those “symbols” that apparently consist of random numbers and letters.
“The only information that is related to it is any string of letters and numbers that is generated on the phone itself and traded back and forth with other phones and that’s it. So if you can hack into a phone or database of that, all you would get is a series of letters and numbers, ”explained Tuneberg.
Public health leaders told KRDO that studies show that if 15% of the community uses the app, it can reduce COVID-19 transmission by 8% and coronavirus mortality by 6%.
For iPhone users, the exposure notification system will be an adjustment option. Android users will need to download an app from the Google Play Store.