New Jersey launches new COVID-19 contact tracing app with emphasis on privacy
The state of New Jersey has launched a new app to help with COVID-19 contact tracing that won’t be collecting personal information.
State officials say that this will be the latest tool to help protect New Jersey residents from the virus.
“We have learned an enormous amount in the past six months, but folks, we are still in the thick of the fight,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.
The app is called COVID Alert NJ and it can be downloaded for free in the Google Play and Apple App Store.
“The program will notify you if you came within 6 feet of someone who tested positive for the coronavirus and it’s all anonymous,” Murphy said. “Name, location or any other identifying data will not be collected. The app also provides daily virus stats and updates."
Here is how it works: If a person tests positive for COVID-19, they will get a call from the New Jersey Department of Health as part of the contact tracing program, asking if that information can be shared with close contacts anonymously through the app. The app uses Bluetooth technology from Google and Apple to track who you have come into close contact with. Only contacts with the app can be tracked.
Each day, the app will compare a person’s close contacts to see if any have tested positive for the coronavirus. If they have, the other person will get a notification and steps for what to do next.
There is also another important tool on the app – a person can record their symptoms and get advice anonymously.
New Jersey has reported 206,629 cases of COVID-19. Over 14,000 people have died from the virus over the last six months.