TRENTON - New Jersey on Thursday announced a free smartphone app that notifies users of possible exposure to the coronavirus. Alert NJ is part of a regional cohort of apps designed to quell the spread of coronavirus across state lines.
New York also rolled out its version of the app on Thursday. The apps are said to be "crucial tools to supplement the effort to trace and contact individuals subject to a COVID exposure."
New Jersey and New York join a network already comprised of Pennsylvania and Delaware. Connecticut will reportedly roll out its coronavirus exposure alert app in the near future.
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Users will be notified of potential exposure to coronavirus is they are within 6 feet or 10 minutes of another user who has anonymously disclosed a positive coronavirus test. Rather than using GPS technology, developers say the app uses Bluetooth to detect when another phone with a compatible app is within six feet.
Through Bluetooth, user's phones will exchange a close contact code. If a positive test is confirmed, a contact tracer will ask the user if they are willing to share the close contact codes the Alert NJ app has accumulated in order to notify other users of possible exposure. The state will use these close contact lists to compare lists of other codes collected by users.
Exposure notifications can be toggled off at any point, but health officials say knowing about potential exposure could help individuals quickly make a plan to stay safe. Officials say all personal information is kept anonymous and the Alert NJ app does not track user location.
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