Utah Launching COVID-19 Contact Tracing System With Apple and Google API This Week

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Utah will officially launch a COVID-19 contact tracing system based on Apple and Google’s exposure notification API on Wednesday, according to a press release by the State’s health department.

exposure notification cartoon

The system will utilize Apple and Google’s exposure notification system, which notifies users with the feature enabled if they’ve come in contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. Utah is notably one of the few states that initially rejected using the system, and instead opted to use its own system based on less accurate and private GPS and Bluetooth tracking.

Utah’s director for the Department of Health Center for Health and Informatics says that contact tracing will enable the state to better manage the pandemic and the outbreak of the virus.

“Contact tracing is an important part of how public health responds and stops disease outbreaks. People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are more at risk of getting infected and making others sick,”

Unlike other states which are offering standalone apps, Utah’s approach will work without an app and only require{s} users with the latest version of iOS and Android to enable exposure notification within the settings app. In practice, when two individuals with the system enabled come in “close proximity” to one another, they exchange “anonymized ‘tokens’ that log that close interaction for 14 days.”

If someone logs a positive test result for COVID-19 into the system, other individuals who were logged to have come in close contact with them within the last 14 days are alerted to get tested and go into self-quarantine. The system will officially launch on Wednesday, February 17, and Utah residents will receive notification alerts over the course of the week encouraging them to enable the system.

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