DENVER (CBS4) – More than a million Coloradans have opted in on a service that notifies you if you’ve been near someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The CO Exposure Notifications service launched last month.
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“We are happy to announce that we have over a million Coloradans that have opted in to receiving notifications,” Gov. Jared Polis announced Friday. “This is a powerful new tool that is already going to start having an impact in the coming days and weeks on the spread of the virus.”
Over 17% of the state’s population has now opted in. With that level of participation, research models suggest we can expect more than an 8% reduction in infections, and a 6% reduction in deaths.
“We’d like to see another million opt in,” Polis said Friday. “So simply turn on that notification on your phone, it’s it’s very very easy.”
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS
When two people meet who’ve both opted into the app and they practice appropriate social distancing and mask wearing, their phones are exchanging anonymous tokens via Bluetooth. Those tokens are stored anonymously on a public health server.READ MORE: Denver Police Chase Ends On I-25 With Arrest Of Man, Woman
If one of those people start to feel ill and learn they have tested positive for COVID-19 from a doctor’s office, they will get a code/key from their local public health agency to enter into their phone.
The key will then notify anyone who opted in and had contact with the patient.
“All of those tokens then send a message back to the phones that they were generated on and give people a little push notification that says ‘Hey, look, you might have been exposed. Call your local public health agency,'” said Tuneberg.
Android users can download CO Exposure Notifications on the Google Play store.
iPhone users can enable CO Exposure Notifications in their phone settings by finding Settings > Exposure Notifications > United States > Colorado.MORE NEWS: 'This Is A Wakeup Call': Colorado Governor Says State Is Running Low On ICU Beds Due To COVID Cases
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story suggested this app does location tracking, which it does not.