SALT LAKE CITY – Over 10,000 Utahns have opted into the Apple/Google COVID-19 Exposure Notification System that launched in the state a week ago, according to officials with the Utah Department of Health, and they hope more Utahns will opt in to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
"It is working and people are participating, which is the point," said George McEwan, UDOH IT director.
McEwan said the system is being activated with notifications going out daily to Utahns who were exposed. For those who opt in, your iPhone or Android will share anonymous information with other Utah exposure notification users using your phone's Bluetooth.
"Think of it like a digital raffle where you have half of a ticket, you hand out this other digital half … anyone that you come in contact with who is within 6 feet of you for more than 15 minutes will exchange these 'keys'," he said.
The system does not use location services or share your identity, but instead uses your phone's Bluetooth to exchange a string of letters and numbers called tokens. It also does not notify you about where you were exposed or who you came in contact with.
"It's really an application that has so much privacy around it. There are really … other things on your phone probably today, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, that track you, and we all use those applications," McEwan said.
It's really an application that has so much privacy around it.
–George McEwan, UDOH IT director
The health department hopes as more users opt in, the easier and quicker Utah can beat the spread of COVID-19.
"The more people who do participate it will help significantly in helping us manage exposure in the future," McEwan said.
To opt in for notifications:
- Go to settings
- Select "Exposure Notifications"
- Select "Turn on Exposure Notifications"
- Select "United States"
- Select "Utah"
- Visit the Google Play store
- Download the UT Exposure Notifications app
- Complete in-app setup