California App Aims to Notify Users of Potential Coronavirus Exposure


Jack Lewis

Graphic made by Jack Lewis

California’s COVID-19 cases are surging yet again. With the majority of the state shut down with stay at home orders and nearly 30,000 new cases announced Sunday, state officials have announced a new app for smartphones with the potential to notify users if they have been in contact with an infected person.

The technology was created through a joint collaboration between Google and Apple, which was unveiled to the public back in August, yet is just now becoming available to Californians. The technology allows for users who test positive to notify anyone who has been within a 15-foot radius around them to get tested and go into quarantine.

Of course, this technology relies on a majority of people to use it. Those who opt not to use it but have still been in contact with an infected person will not be informed.

“As we work together to fight the rise in cases in California, exposure notifications will help slow the spread of COVID-19 and put our neighbor’s health first,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a tweet.

The process works by using Bluetooth Low Energy, which will exchange a private key upon being in range of a phone with the app turned on. According to officials, no private information will be shared and the process is 100% confidential and anonymous.

Personally I believe that this is a great step to prevent further coronavirus transmissions and help turn the tide in the fight to stop the pandemic. The only issue that I have with this technology is that I doubt many will opt in. The only reason that COVID-19 cases continue to grow is due to many ignoring stay at home orders, refusing to wear masks and overall declining to do their due diligence of helping prevent the spread.

California is the 18th state, including the district of Washington D.C. and Guam to officially adopt the technology. Why it has taken California, the most populous state and home to both Apple and Google so long to adopt the technology alludes me, yet the fact that Californians finally have the option is great news.

The technology will become officially available to users starting on Dec. 10, with Android users having to download an application called CA Notify and iphone users with iOS 14.2 or higher being able to access it through the settings app under a setting called exposure notifications.

While it is unlikely that a vast majority of the public will take advantage of the technology, it is a great idea and one that may help reduce further coronavirus cases in our state. I know I certainly will be using it and I encourage everyone who has the means to do so to use it as well.

Jack Lewis can be reached my mail at [email protected] or on Twitter @JackAttack722