State of Michigan and MSU launch COVID-19 app pilot for campus and the surrounding community

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 11:06 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Thursday the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) and Michigan State University (MSU) launched a COVID-19 exposure notification app pilot program on MSU’s campus and for the surrounding community. The app is intended to help reduce the spread of the virus following increased testing and additional contact tracing efforts in Michigan.

“MI COVID Alert” is a voluntary, anonymous exposure notification smartphone app. By submitting a code provided by the public health department, app users with COVID-19 can confidentially alert students, faculty and staff, and others who may have also been exposed to the virus.

The app works by using bluetooth to detect other nearby phones that have it installed. When someone with the app tests positive for COVID-19 their identity is kept confidential, but others with the app will receive a push notification that they have been in close contact with will be notified that they are at risk.

“MSU has an opportunity to lead the way for all of Michigan in using this easy-to-use app to avoid a second wave,” said Robert Gordon, MDHHS director. “While masking and social distancing remain as critical as ever, MI COVID Alert is another way to help the MSU and Ingham County community contain COVID while leading their lives.”

The exposure notification feature included in recent iOS and Android operating system updates only works with a companion app like MI COVID Alert. The app is available in the Apple and Google app stores.

The State of Michigan will evaluate expansion of the app statewide based on results of the pilot program.

Other states, including Virginia, Arizona, New York, Alabama and New Jersey, recently launched similar exposure notifications apps statewide. Additional states have apps in development.

Copyright 2020 WILX. All rights reserved.

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