Pennsylvania next month will roll out a new app that will notify residents if they are close contacts of someone with a confirmed case of Covid-19.
Covid Alert Pa is being developed for the Pennsylvania Department of Health with the University of Pennsylvania, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an Irish app maker called NearForm that built a Covid-19 tracker for the Irish government.
“This app uses Bluetooth technology to let a person know that they have been exposed to Covid-19 without compromising their identity or location,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Levine made the announcement during a news conference Tuesday.
One of the persistent challenges in stemming the outbreak has been notifying people who have come within six feet of an infected person for a minimum of 15 minutes. It’s sometimes hard, for example, for people who are facing a Covid-19 diagnosis to tell a case investigator all the places they’ve been and for how long. And, said Levine, if an infected person had been in a store or a restaurant or somewhere else, it’s likely they didn’t know the names and contact numbers of everyone they were in contact with.
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