MI COVID Alert app hits nearly half a million downloads in first month.

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A model of a coronavirus is displayed next to boxes for COVID-19 vaccines at an exhibit by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm at the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. China said Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, that it is joining the COVID-19 vaccine alliance known as COVAX. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

LANSING, Mich, (WLNS) — A month after its statewide launch, the MI COVID Alert app has reached nearly 500,000 downloads.

The app allows people who have tested positive for COVID-19 to anonymously share their results with others.

“So much about fighting COVID is hard, but this is easy: Please download MI COVID Alert on your phone,” said Robert Gordon, director of MDHHS. “It protects your privacy, and it will help protect us all. If we hit even a million downloads by January 2021, we’ll be safer until a vaccine is available to the broader population.”

Even when just 15% of a population used an exposure notification app like MI COVID Alert, researchers from Oxford University found a potential to reduce infections and deaths.

Already, nearly 9% of Michigan residents ages 18 to 64 have downloaded MI COVID Alert.  When a person tests positive for COVID-19, they are eligible to receive a randomly generated PIN. This PIN allows people to share test results anonymously in MI COVID Alert.

After a positive test result is entered into the app, close contacts – people who have been within six feet for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period – will receive an anonymous push notification letting them know they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and the number of days since the possible exposure took place.

No personally identifiable information is required or shared with other users.

With the total number of COVID-19 cases and people exposed to the virus recently, some COVID-positive residents may not receive a call from their local health department right away.

MI COVID Alert uses randomly generated phone codes and low-energy Bluetooth technology to gauge proximity between phones with the app instead of using GPS. The use of this technology protects the privacy of all users and prevents tracking someone’s exact location.

Or for more information about the app, go to the MI COVID Alert webpage

Anyone who may need testing may visit the COVID-19 website to find a testing location near them. They may also contact the Michigan COVID-19 hotline to locate and schedule an appointment.

Other states, including Virginia, Arizona, New York, Alabama and New Jersey launched similar exposure notifications apps. Additional states have apps in development.

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