Later this week, after a lengthy trial period, California is finally going to rollout its COVID-19 contact tracing effort.
Today, Governor of California Gavin Newsom confirmed (via TechCrunch) that “CA Notify”, a new contact tracing app, will launch this Thursday, November 10. It’s built upon the Exposure Notification system that Apple and Google worked together to build to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
While the CA Notify app will launch later this week, it isn’t a necessity to take advantage of contact tracing. With the Exposure Notifications Express system, iPhone owners can simply open Settings –> Exposure Notifications –> United States –> and then choose their state to have contact tracing activated without having to download a separate app. The same system works on Android phones, too.
NEW: CA has partnered with @Google and @Apple to launch a #COVID19 exposure notification app, CA Notify.
Starting Thursday, you can opt in to get push notifications on your phone if you have been exposed to COVID-19.
This is 100% private & secure.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) December 7, 2020
As far as what parameters the state of California set for its contact tracing effort, here’s what that looks like:
In the case of California, the state has set contact with a confirmed COVID-19 positive individual of within 6 feet, for a period of 15 minutes or more as meriting an exposure notification. Users who receive a positive COVID-19 test will get a text message from the Department of Public Health for the state that contains a code they input in the CA Notify app in order to trigger an alert broadcast to any phones that met the criteria above during the prior 14 days (the period during which the virus is transmissible).
Otherwise, this new app is similar to what has launched all across the globe. With contact tracing, people can be aware of when they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus. As a result, they can make the decision to self-quarantine and, hopefully, stop the spread of COVID-19.
Resource: How to use COVID-19 contact tracing on iPhone for exposure notifications
This is a slow rollout, especially for the state of California, but it certainly falls into the “better late than never” department.
The app launches this Thursday.