RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia has rolled out a smartphone app to automatically notify people if they might have been exposed to the coronavirus.
It's the first U.S. state to use new pandemic technology created by Apple and Google.
The Covidwise app was available on the tech giants’ app stores Wednesday ahead of an expected announcement from Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.
It comes nearly four months after Apple and Google said they were partnering on creating app-building software for public health agencies trying to contain the spread of the pandemic.
Canada and a number of European countries have already rolled out apps using the tech companies’ framework.
Attorney Kellam T. Parks practices cybersecurity law. Kellam agreed if the app functions, it's safe to use.
“The way this app has been set up ... you have an anonymous six-digit pin; they're not tracking your location, nothing is being reported back to the health officials. I don’t see how a consumer's data could really be compromised here," said Parks.
If someone tests positive, the lab that administered it sends the result to the Virginia Department of Health. Then contact tracers get ahold of the person and give them a pin number. The person can decide to use the pin in the Covidwise app.
“I think it’s going to be a positive thing for each individual person to maximize the knowledge they have of who they are coming in contact with," said Parks.
If you do come across someone who tested positive, you will get a notification on the app that will direct you to resources by the VDH.
Governor Northam stressed this app is voluntary for anyone to use.