What you need to know
- New York and New Jersey have both launched contact tracing apps.
- Both states will join Pennsylvania and Delaware in creating a regional network.
- Connecticut is also expected to launch an app in the next few weeks.
In a press release on the New York state website, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy have announced that both states are launching their own contact tracing apps based on Apple and Google's Exposure Notification technology.
Governor Cuomo said that the app, named COVID Alert NY, will help residents of the state to help curb the spread of COVID-19 themselves, a big assist to the 15,000 people currently working on contact tracing in New York.
"We have a very exciting announcement that has taken a lot of work and it's really creative and smart and I think it can make a big difference. This is a technology-based contact tracing app. Testing is only as good as your contact tracing. Testing is to identify a person, so you can isolate and quarantine that person and then find the connections from that person, and that's contact tracing. We have about 15,000 people statewide who do contact tracing, they call them disease detectives. But we've been looking for a technology-based solution. And today, we are announcing an app that you can download for free from the app store called COVID Alert NY."
Governor Murphy appealed to people's personal responsibility in protecting themselves and their fellow citizens, saying that the more people that download the app, "the better we can fight this pandemic."
"Over the course of our public health emergency, we've called for a shared sense of personal responsibility to support our contact tracing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. With the launch of COVID Alert NJ and our regional app network, New Jerseyans and residents in our neighboring states can support our fight against COVID-19 simply by downloading an application on their phone. The app is free and secure, and your identity, personally identifying information, and location will never be collected. The more phones that have the app, the better we can fight this pandemic."
In addition to launching their own contact tracing apps, New York and New Jersey will join Pennsylvania and Delaware in creating a regional network that will enable the apps to work across state lines. According to the announcement, Connecticutt will be launching its own app "in the coming weeks."
Both of the apps use Apple and Google's Exposure Notification technology, which allows users to be alerted if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 without having to share any of their personal information.
Users can download the COVID Alert NY and COVID Alert NJ from the App Store starting today. Just yesterday, Belgium became the latest country in Europe to launch a contact tracing app using the technology.
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