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New COVID-19 contact tracing app to launch next week

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Posted at 1:44 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 15:25:41-05

WISCONSIN — A new contact tracing app is expected to launch in Wisconsin next week, Governor Tony Evers said in a press release Thursday.

WI Exposure Notification is a new app that will allow close contacts of those with a positive test to take quicker action.

The app is available in the Google Play store, and iPhone users can turn the app on in their iPhone settings.

“We’re excited about this app’s potential to enhance our state’s response to COVID-19,” said Evers. "Because it lets you know faster if you’ve been in close contact with someone who’s tested positive, you can take steps to keep yourself safe and protect those around you."

Evers said the app is completely anonymous as it doesn’t collect or use device location. Instead, it uses Bluetooth technology to anonymously share Bluetooth signals with other smartphones using the app nearby, according to a press release from Evers.

Any Wisconsinite who tests positive for COVID-19 will receive a code that users enter into the app. By entering the code, the person who tests positive anonymously notifies devices their phone has shared Bluetooth signals with during the period of time they may have been contagious.

“The more people who use the app, the more effective it will be, just like the public health measures we’ve been talking about throughout this pandemic,” said Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “Stay home, wash your hands, wear a mask, physically distance, and use the WI Exposure Notification app.”

The app will launch on Dec. 23.

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