Good Question: How many people are using New York's COVID Alert app?

Brennan Somers
Updated: December 23, 2020 05:30 AM
Created: December 22, 2020 07:45 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — COVID Alert New York. Add your phone. Stop the spread.

That's the goal of the new app NYS launched in October.

Here's how it works if you haven't used it. It runs with what's called exposure notification system technology.

Using Bluetooth-- you'll get an alert if you've come within six feet, for at least ten minutes, with someone who's tested positive.

A viewer asked News10NBC’s Brennan Somers: After much hype and encouragement for all to immediately download and participate, I have heard nothing recently about how well this is working.

That viewer brings up a good point because the governor really hasn’t said much about any progress during briefings since this started.

 Somers reached out the NYS Department of Health. A spokesperson sent this response:

“In October, New York State launched COVID Alert NY, an exposure notification tool designed to strengthen our nation-leading contact tracing program. New York State’s contact tracers have proven to be extremely effective, reaching over 80% of all cases and the COVID Alert NY app serves to supplement these efforts. We are extremely encouraged to report that more than 1.1 million New Yorkers have downloaded the COVID Alert NY app. More than 1000 individuals successfully marked a COVID positive status in the app, triggering almost 1100 exposure notification among fellow app users. Like a ripple effect, upon receiving a notification, these hundreds of New Yorkers can quickly notify their own friends, family and neighbors of potential exposure, prompting a wider group of people to contact the health department, seek out a test, and quarantine in order to stop the spread of the virus”

Things like this always bring up "big brother" privacy concerns.

State officials stress it is anonymous, doesn't track your location, and they don't collect any personal information.

They still want more of you to download it because the more people who have it, the bigger the pool becomes to alert others of future cases.

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