CSAC Bulletin Article

Statewide Expansion of COVID-19 Smart Phone Exposure Tool

December 10, 2020

Governor Gavin Newsom announced the official statewide launch of CA Notify, a new digital tool with the goal of reducing the transmission of COVID-19. Starting today, December 10, Californians can voluntarily opt in to receive COVID-19 notifications informing them if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus. The Newsom administration states this new tool will not collect device location to detect exposure and does not share a user’s identity. Californians can enable CA Notify in their iPhone settings or on Android phones by downloading the CA notify app from the Google Play Store. Alerts notifying Californians of its availability will begin Thursday.

The tool was developed in partnership with Google and Apple and piloted with students and employees on the campuses of the University California, San Diego and the University of California, San Francisco in late September. If an individual decides to opt-in to CA Notify, the tool will use Bluetooth technology to exchange random codes between phones to maintain privacy and security without revealing the user’s identity or location.

If a CA Notify user tests positive for COVID-19, they will receive a verification code to plug into the app, if they choose. Any other CA Notify users who have been within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more of the COVID-19 positive individual will get an anonymous notification of possible exposure. The performance and privacy of CA Notify has been successfully evaluated through the pilot project and similar programs have been launched in other states.

The goal of CA Notify is to quickly notify individuals of any COVID-19 exposure which allows individuals to make decisions around quarantine and testing. The smartphone notification tool is just one of the many tools California has designed to slow the transmission of COVID-19.

For more information, visit CaNotify.ca.gov and Covid19.ca.gov.

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