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Pa. residents download alert application for virus

HARRISBURG — More than 165,000 Pennsylvanians have downloaded the COVID Alert PA exposure notification mobile app in the first week since the app was released to the Apple and Google app stores.

“Thank you to all of the Pennsylvanians who have already downloaded the COVID Alert PA app and added their phone to the fight against COVID-19,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “This is a simple, secure way that each and every one of us can help protect our communities from COVID-19, and I encourage every Pennsylvanian to download the app today. When we unite to stop COVID-19, we accomplish much more than we ever could alone.”

COVID Alert PA is a free, voluntary mobile app developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health in partnership with NearForm, UPenn and MIT Lincoln Laboratory using the Apple and Google Exposure Notification System. The app’s features include an interactive COVID-19 symptom checker, alerts of potential exposures to the virus, updates on the latest public health data about COVID-19 in Pennsylvania and public health guidance for what to do if you have a potential exposure to COVID-19.

“Pennsylvanians are united in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, and they are downloading the app to make sure their phone is part of the fight,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, state health secretary. “The more Pennsylvanians who download this app, the more effective it will be at slowing the spread of COVID-19. This app does not track your location or movement; it uses Bluetooth technology to send a COVID-19 exposure notification if you have been in close contact with someone who later tested positive for COVID-19.”

The app is designed with privacy at the forefront. The app does not use GPS, location services, or any movement or geographical information. It will never collect, transmit or store personal information. In other words, it is completely anonymous. The app does collect user statistics like the number of downloads or the symptom check-in demographics that people can voluntarily share. There have been 165,678 downloads onto smartphone devices; an average of 23,659 COVID Check-Ins for symptoms per day; and around 96% of app users reported “feeling good” during their COVID check-in per day.

The app uses anonymous Bluetooth low energy proximity technology to know when a phone is within six feet of another phone with the app for 15 minutes or more.

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