A new smartphone app has launched to help reduce the spread of the Coronavirus at Michigan State University. The free app is called MI COVID Alert. It’s a joint project of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Ingham County Health Department, and MSU.
People who test positive for COVID-19 can anonymously share the results with the app. Bluetooth technology detects nearby phones that also have the app. Users can receive a notification that they may have been within six feet of that person for at least 15 minutes.
Health and Human Services spokesperson Bob Wheaton says the app should not be considered a substitute for traditional contact tracing. “That’s still important," states Wheaton, "for people who do test positive to cooperate with contact testers and give them as much information as they can so they can reach out to people, so we’re looking at this as kind of supplementing that.”
Wheaton says the app should not be considered a substitute for the usual safety guidelines like mask wearing and social distancing. He adds that "this is just the latest way that we’re endeavoring to determine people who have tested positive or people that may have been exposed, so that they can take precautions to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.”
The MI-COVID Alert app can be found in the Apple and Google app stores.