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Lansing health officials hope that a news smartphone app that warns users when exposed to the coronavirus will slow the growing COVID-19 epidemic in Michigan this fall.

The app MICOVID Alert is designed to act as a fast, automatic alert system that is independent of the person answering personal calls from contact tracers.

“People really want to download and use the app,” said Robert Gordon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “It’s free, easy, and anonymous. If enough people download the app, it’s an important tool for delaying COVID.”

MI COVID Alert was developed by DHHS and the Michigan State Department of Technology Management and Budget. A test run will take place at Michigan State University this week and will be available state-wide.

Those who download MI COVID Alert will be notified if they spend more than 15 minutes within 6 feet of a person tested positive for coronavirus and if they upload using the app at the time of exposure. Positive test results for the app.

You’ll also be notified in real time if you’ve recently tested positive and are close to someone using the app.

Auto-notification tells the user when it was published, but not where it was published or who is positive nearby. According to Gordon, this maintains the anonymity of users who test positive.

If the app user tests positive for the coronavirus, they will be notified to allow the app to share the test results anonymously.

Imagine two people sitting in a waiting room within 6 feet of each other for 20 minutes. Both are downloading the app. One will test positive for coronavirus four days later, enter the results into the app, and the other will automatically be notified that they were exposed four days ago, providing information on symptoms, quarantine, and testing. I will.

MI COVID Alert uses Bluetooth to communicate with nearby devices that use the app. It does not use GPS to track the user’s location. The data stored on the device is encrypted when shared.

Use of the app is optional.

Gordon: The app can enhance contact tracing and reduce the spread of coronavirus

MI COVID Alert can help enhance contact tracing. Health officials say this is the key to limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Currently, this work is being carried out by health department employees who interview COVID-19 people about who they have been in contact with during contagiousness and call those contacts to warn them to be quarantined and inspected. It is

But participation was a problem. DHHS officials estimate that contact tracers cannot reach 41% of people exposed or tested positive.

“The process isn’t perfect,” Gordon said. “Sometimes someone tests positive and doesn’t complete the interview for the contact. If they complete the interview for the contact, they may not remember everyone they were in close contact with. No. They may not know everyone they have been in close contact with. “”

MI COVID Alert is especially useful if you don’t remember who you were close to, especially while people are contagious. The app does not replace traditional contact tracing.

The usefulness of the app also depends on participation. If downloaded by many, it could be a useful tool to monitor and prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the community. Otherwise, you’re less likely to catch potentially exposed instances.

MICOVID Alert app piloted at East Lansing MSU

This app can be downloaded and used by anyone, but the state is promoting the app for a test run in East Lansing. In East Lansing, the number of cases has increased significantly since late August.

“We know that students and people between the ages of 18 and 24 are at the forefront of some of the recent outbreaks,” he said. “How to develop this, how to accept and use it, and how effective it is in these populations. [the state].. “

Details: Violations of East Lansing’s public health orders could result in a $ 500 fine

Stanley said he wants most of the students’ bodies and faculty members to download MI COVID Alert, as well as residents living near the campus. He said the app would be more useful if at least 15% of the population downloaded the app.

Stanley said he might consider mandating the app this spring if it has been shown to be effective in delaying the transmission of the coronavirus.

“One of the challenges is that infected asymptomatic people can roam and infect the disease without knowing it is infected,” said MSU President Samuel Stanley. I will. “This helps reach that population by telling those who have been exposed that they should probably go and take the test.”

MICOVID Alert Push on MSU’s campus measures the potential of the app and provides the opportunity for developers to resolve issues as soon as possible before promoting their adoption throughout Michigan.

Health officials want to act swiftly, Gordon said. The number of cases and hospitalization rates for COVID-19 are on the rise, and if people decide to gather indoors, the cold can spread.

“”[The app]”It’s not a substitute for wearing a mask, keeping a social distance, or washing your hands,” Gordon said. This is a way for people to protect themselves, get more information, and be safer. An additional tool that you can use to help you live in

According to Gordon, there are similar exposure notification apps in other states. MI COVID Alert is compatible with apps from other states. Available in the Apple and Google app stores.

Please contact Carroll Thompson ([email protected]). Follow her on Twitter @ thompsoncarolk.

Read or share this story: https: //www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/2020/10/15/download-app-mi-covid-alert-michigan-coronavirus-exposure-warnings/3650329001/

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