A new app to trace coronavirus cases that alerts users when they come in contact with a person who has tested positive was launched in New York, state Governor Andrew Cuomo announced.
The app, called “Covid Alert NY”, is free and available through Apple’s App Store and Google Play for both iOS and Android, CNBC said in a news report.
Addressing a conference call on Thursday, Cuomo said: “We have about 15,000 people statewide who do contact tracing. We call them disease detectives. But we’ve been looking for a technology-based solution.
“The app will know where a person who tested positive was through their cellphone, and the app can tell you if you were within six feet of that person.”
According to Cuomo’s secretary Melissa DeRos, the app uses Bluetooth and not location tracking technology, to detect close contact between phones, and thus individuals.
“Covid Alert NY does not track your location, your movement, or use GPS. It does not collect or store any personal information,” she was quoted as saying in the CNBC news report.
“The app is completely anonymous. It uses Bluetooth technology to sense proximity to another phone with the same app, but not geographic location.”
Shortly after Cuomo’s announcement, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy also unveiled the “Covid Alert NJ” app.
“Over the course of our public health emergency, we’ve called for a shared sense of personal responsibility to support our contact tracing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19,” CBS New York quoted Murphy as saying in a statement.
“With the launch of ‘Covid Alert NJ’ and our regional app network, New Jerseyans and residents in our neighbouring states can support our fight against COVID-19 simply by downloading an application on their phone.
“The app is free and secure, and your identity, personally identifying information, and location will never be collected. The more phones that have the app, the better we can fight this pandemic,” he added.
The app is expected to be soon launched in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut.