COVID Exposure Notifications rolling out on California

Dec 14, 2020 3 min read
COVID Exposure Notifications rolling out on California

Two of the major smartphone providers, Apple and Google have been rolling out to many states and even countries around the world the new feature Exposure Notification.

Two of the major smartphone providers, Apple and Google have been rolling out to many states and even countries around the world the new feature Exposure Notification. This Thursday the most popular state in US (California) joins them with access to Exposure Notifications.

How does Exposure Notifications work?

Once you activate CA Notify, it does all the work. All you do is keep your Bluetooth on. You will only receive alerts if you were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Your privacy is protected as your identity is not known and your location is not tracked.

California COVID Notify has been in testing at UC Berkeley and other UC campuses since the beginning of this year, but on Thursday, Exposure Notifications are set to roll out to all iPhones and Android users across the state.

CA Notify takes advantage of the technology Apple implemented on September on the iPhone which is called Exposure Notification Express System.

How to enable Exposure Notifications on the iPhone

The steps are simple:

  1. Go to the settings app
  2. Tap Exposure Notifications
  3. Select United States
  4. Then choose your desired state to opt in (you don't need to download a 3rd party app)

The Exposure Notification system for California was developed by UC San Diego Health, which will provide infrastructure, education, and support that includes a call center and public website.

As with all Exposure Notification apps, the app needs consent from the user to opt in to the program and no user will be sign up with consent.

Of course the app doesn't magically work. For this to work the user with covid needs to go to the app and mark that he/she has covid, then the rest of the users with the Exposure notification would be alert and the magic of the technology would come into play when the person infected passes near by someone who is not and has the app installed.

At what distance do I have to be for the Exposure Notification to work

The distance for the notification to be triggered is 6 feet of a confirmed COVID positive individual for a period of 15 minutes or more being close to that person.

The state of california also issued the following memo about how they handle privacy:

Your privacy is protected. The California COVID Notify Privacy Policy is available at https://covid19.ca.gov/notify/#privacy. Your GPS location data and personal identifiers are never collected or shared with other users. Your phone shares anonymous keys (randomly generated strings of numbers) with other users via Bluetooth. The only data collected by the app are the anonymous keys, Bluetooth signal strength, date, and duration of proximity. This information is not linked to your identity or location.

What iOS version do I need for the COVID Exposure Notifications to work

On iPhone, enabling Exposure Notifications requires iOS 13.7 or later, and the program will be active starting on December 10.

How many states in US have implemented the Exposure Notifications

  • Virginia
  • North Dakota
  • Arizona
  • Delaware
  • Nevada
  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • Wyoming
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Michigan
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Minnesota
  • Washington
  • Connecticut
  • Nevada
  • The District of Columbia.
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