Finding new ways to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19 throughout California has occupied every public, academic and private sector of the Golden State. While vaccines are on the way, the need to remain aware of one’s surroundings remains the best way to avoid contact with someone infected with the virus.
Mask wearing and social distancing are paramount measures, but now the State has introduced a new tool in its COVID-battling arsenal: CA Notify.
On Dec. 10, 2020, the California Department of Health and the California Department of Technology launched CA Notify, a digital tool designed to notify Californians of their possible exposure to COVID-19. The free, mobile technology is available to all Californians and on their mobile devices.
CA Notify app users receive notifications informing them if they were exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus so they can take immediate actions around quarantine and testing. CA Notify does not collect the location of a phone or individual to detect COVID-19 exposure and it does not share a user’s identity. Californians opt in to use the tool and may opt out at any time.
When individuals voluntarily activate CA Notify, the tool uses Bluetooth technology to exchange random codes between phones without revealing the user’s identity or location. When someone tests for COVID-19, they will receive an automated text message. This text will remind CA Notify users who receive a positive test result from a provider or laboratory to enter their verification code into their phone using CA Notify. Any other CA Notify users who were within six feet of the COVID-19 positive individual for 15 minutes or more when that person was most likely to be infectious will get an anonymous notification of possible exposure.
“The technology is 100 percent voluntary and secure and provides Californians immediate information and links to resources when they’ve been exposed to COVID-19,” said Amy Tong, state CIO and director of CDT. “We are proud the Golden State is making this innovative tool available statewide to encourage more Californians to do their part to keep others safe.”
CA Notify is not a contact tracing app but augments the tracing process by issuing exposure notifications to people you may not know. Contact tracing identifies the close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and contact tracers reach those individuals by phone, email, and text. CA Notify does not track or trace information about the people you are in contact with and does not collect or exchange any personal information.
Visit CANotify.ca.gov to learn more about how CA Notify works and how you can access it on your own iPhone or Android device.