Michigan launches app that will alert people possibly exposed to COVID-19

Posted at 10:50 AM, Oct 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 10:50:07-04

(WXYZ) — The State of Michigan announced it has created an app that will alert you if you've been exposed to COVID-19.

The app is from a partnership of Michgian State University, the state's Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

There is a pilot program going on now on Michigan State's campus and the surrounding community in hopes to reduce the spread of the virus with increased testing and additional contact tracing.

The MI COVID Alert is voluntary and free. By submitting a non-identifying code provided by the public health department, app users with COVID-19 can confidentially alert students, faculty and staff, and others who may have also been exposed to the virus, the state said.

“MSU has an opportunity to lead the way for all of Michigan in using this easy-to-use app to avoid a second wave,” said Robert Gordon, MDHHS director. “While masking and social distancing remain as critical as ever, MI COVID Alert is another way to help the MSU and Ingham County community contain COVID while leading their lives.”

“Preventing the spread of the virus is of utmost importance, and early detection efforts are essential in our overall approach to battling the virus,” said Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley Jr., M.D. “By downloading the app, Spartans are sending a clear message that we are committed to being part of the solution.”

If someone tests positive, they receive a pin from the local health department or state investigators that allows them to share results anonymously. Then, the app uses low-energy Bluetooth technology to detect nearby phones that have the app.

The state worked with Apple and Google to make it compatible with similar apps in other states.

"If a MI COVID Alert user has been in close contact with someone who submitted a positive COVID-19 test result, a push notification will be sent to their phone once the positive test result is entered into the system. A notification means the app user was possibly within six feet for at least 15 minutes of someone who tested positive and shared their result," the state said.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.