LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michiganders who use the MI COVID Alert can now view them in both Spanish and Arbic.
Today the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB) announced the launch of the two new languages for the program.
“It is critical that we continue to recognize and find ways to meet the diverse needs of communities across our state,” said Robert Gordon, director of MDHHS. “MI COVID Alert is an important tool in our continued efforts to bring the numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths down. We’re excited that this app update will break down language barriers and ensure access for more Michiganders.”
According to researchers from Oxford University when just 15% of a population used an exposure notification app like MI COVID Alert, it found it had potential to reduce infections and deaths.
The state says in just a month, the MI COVID Alert has been downloaded 481,906 times, roughly 10% of those expected to own a smartphone in the state.
Spanish and Arabic options are available through both the Apple and Google app stores. Users may also select and change languages by going into Settings, selecting General, and clicking Language and Region in order to choose Spanish or Arabic on their iOS or Android smartphones.
Rather than using GPS, MI COVID Alert uses randomly generated phone codes and low-energy Bluetooth technology to detect distances between phones with the app. This technology protects the privacy of all users and prevents tracking someone’s exact location. No personally identifiable information is required or shared with other users and officials. When a person tests positive for COVID-19, they are eligible to receive a randomly generated PIN. This PIN allows individuals to share a positive test result anonymously in MI COVID Alert.
HOW DOES IT WORK:
The app will notify the user if they were in contact with someone with a positive test result, and that contact was within six feet for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. The app will give the user the number of days since the possible exposure took place.
For more information about COVID-19, testing and restrictions those can be found here.