New Smart Phone Tool Designed to Slow the Spread of COVID-19
Source: Public Health Department
Starting December 10, 2020 a new digital tool called CA Notify, will help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and be available to smartphone users. Upon its launch, Californians can opt in to receive COVID-19 notifications informing them if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus. CA Notify is a digital tool that protects privacy and security - it does not collect device location to detect exposure and does not share a user's identity. The tool was developed in partnership with Google and Apple and piloted with the help of the University California, San Diego and the University of California, San Francisco.
Beginning [today], Santa Barbara County residents can enable CA Notify in iPhone settings directly (IOS 13.7 or higher), for Android per download of an app, by downloading the CA notify app from the Google Play Store. Users statewide may start receiving alerts from their phones on Thursday, December 10.
When individuals voluntarily activate CA Notify, the tool uses Bluetooth technology to exchange random codes between phones without revealing the user's identity or location. If a CA Notify user tests positive for COVID-19, they will receive a verification code to plug into the app, if they choose. Any other CA Notify 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. CA Notify will accelerate how quickly people get notified of a possible COVID-19 exposure, giving people information they need to make responsible decisions around quarantine and testing. Users who have tested positive for COVID-19 will get a text from the California Department of Public Health at 855-976-8462 with a code which they can enter into CA Notify triggering an alert to phones of people who may have been exposed in the previous 14 days.
"With the increase in positive cases of COVID-19, this tool comes at an ideal time to give community members another way to be informed of potential exposures so that they can take action as quickly as possible," said Dr. Henning Ansorg, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department Health Officer. "This will allow the community to act quickly to protect themselves, their loved ones, and the community."
CA Notify is completely voluntary and free, and is designed to protect your privacy. It does not use device location to detect exposures and does not share your identity to other users. Individuals can securely report if they test positive, so that others can be notified of exposure without indicating their identity.