Oregon hopes to launch COVID-19 exposure notification app in near future

Oregon Hopes To Launch Covid 19 Exposure Notification App In Near Future
KPTV

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PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — Like Washington, Oregon is hoping to launch a COVID-19 exposure notification app in the near future.

But if you already received an alert for it, FOX 12 has learned it went out by mistake.

Over the new year, iPhone users in Oregon got an alert asking if they wanted to sign up for the app. According to Oregon Health Authority’s website, that was an error, because the project is still under development.

FOX 12 spoke with Senior Health Advisor at OHA, Shimi Sharief, about the app. She said developed by Google and Apple, it uses Bluetooth to figure out who you’ve been around, how long you’ve been around them, and if they are contagious or not.

She said the app doesn’t share your name, information or location.

“Misconceptions that the app is tracking location with traditional GPS signals, this is inaccurate,” said Sharief. “There’s no location information saved on the device or transmitted to Google, Apple or last of all, our state governments.”

“It actually just generates proximity information and saves on automized keys that are then mostly mathematical signals that can then be transmitted to a phone on a contact device, if somebody was to identify as a case,” she continued. “The only way to verify a case as truly a case is for that person to voluntarily share that information in the app.”

Washington rolled out the app in late November. Sharief said she hopes Oregon will come out with something before April.

“We really hope that the app will be a good supplement to really keeping community transmission down, while we roll out the vaccine,” said Sharief. “It’s still important to note that COVID is really surging in many localities and many states and so it’s important to have one more tool in our toolbox to keep Oregonians safe.”

When the app does officially launch, unlike Apple users, Android users will need to physically download it first.