The Virginia Department of Health has launched COVIDWISE, an app that uses Apple and Google’s COVID-19 contact tracing technology to track coronavirus cases and notify users when they may have been exposed. State officials had been beta testing the app, which is the first to fully use Apple and Google’s exposure notification API. As of today, the app is free to download in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
COVIDWISE doesn’t employ GPS to monitor a user’s location, but instead uses Bluetooth to communicate between devices. After downloading the app and opting in to the Exposure Notifications System, it will generate random, anonymous beacons for your device. Other phones in the area receive and store those beacons, and emit their own. “No location data or personal information is ever collected, stored or transmitted to VDH as part of the app,”VDH spokeswoman Julie Grimes told Virginia Public Media. “You can delete the app or turn off exposure notifications at any time.”