#parent | #kids | New Jersey Unveils New Coronavirus Contact Tracing App

NEW JERSEY – Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday the launch of the state’s COVID Alert NJ contact tracing app, which notifies users of potential COVID-19 exposure. The mobile phone app, which is available on both Google Play and Apple App Stores, will send an alert if a user comes within six feet of a registered infected individual.

The app is compatible with similar statewide apps in New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Connecticut has announced it will launch a similar service in the near future.

Android users can download the app here and iPhone users can download the app here.

Those who test positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by a public health representative and be given the option to anonymously notify any “close contacts” by uploading the app’s anonymous close contact codes. Each day, the app will compare the infected individual’s list of close contact codes to the list of codes associated with positive COVID-19 app users. If there’s a match, users will get an exposure alert through the app.

COVID Alert NJ will not reveal the identity of COVID-19 positive individuals.

“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,” said Murphy in a statement. “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.”

The apps use technology developed by Google and Apple in conjunction with software developer NearForm to supplement statewide contact tracing systems. Users will be notified if they have been in close contact (specifically within six feet for at least 10 minutes) with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The software is anonymous and does not track or collection location or personal data from a phone, according to a news release. The notification system uses Bluetooth technology to detect when another phone with the same app is within a six-foot distance. App users must select to turn on exposure notifications and may turn off notifications at any time.

COVID Alert NJ also provides users with the latest information on COVID-19 in the Garden State, including public testing data. The app also features a symptom checker where individuals can record symptoms.

“COVID-19 knows no borders, and COVID Alert NJ will help us break the chain of transmission,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “COVID Alert NJ helps expand our contact tracing efforts, along with our neighboring states, in battling the pandemic, particularly among young adults, and also protects privacy and data. The greater the participation, the more effective COVID Alert NJ will be in helping all of us to beat this virus.”

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