Gov. John Carney, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, and the Delaware Department of Technology and Information on Sept. 15 launched COVID Alert DE – a mobile app available in the App Store or Google Play that will help Delaware fight community spread of COVID-19.
The free mobile app – available to anyone 18 or older who lives, works, or attends college in Delaware – uses Bluetooth technology from Google and Apple to securely and anonymously alert users who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, officials said. By downloading COVID Alert DE, Delawareans can use their phones in the fight against COVID-19 without compromising privacy or personal information. COVID Alert DE also allows users to log symptoms and get more information on COVID-19 in Delaware.
“This app is an important tool to help Delawareans understand the risks of COVID-19, and to help fight community spread of this virus,” Carney said. “Knowing you’ve had a potential exposure and taking the basic precautions is the best way to protect your most vulnerable family members, friends, and neighbors who are at risk of serious illness. I would encourage all Delawareans to download this app and help in our fight against COVID-19.”
Users of COVID Alert DE may receive an exposure notification if they were in close proximity to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, and also has the app downloaded on their phone. Close proximity is defined as within six feet for 15 minutes or more. The app uses Bluetooth technology to recognize when other phones nearby are running the application.
COVID Alert DE was created in partnership with software developer NearForm. The app will allow for interoperability and exposure notifications across state lines in states that also have exposure notification apps and use the same Bluetooth technology developed by Apple and Google. The app is not a substitute for basic precautionary measures including mask-wearing, social distancing in public, and frequent hand-washing.
“COVID Alert DE is a new and important tool in the fight against COVID-19 because it supplements the work of the Division of Public Health’s contact tracing teams,” said Molly Magarik, DHSS secretary. “Typical contact tracing relies on an individual remembering the names of people they have been in contact with – and for how long. Using the COVID Alert DE app will help to speed up the process of notifying close contacts and identifying close contacts. Because we expect younger people to embrace the app at higher rates, we are especially pleased that the University of Delaware and Delaware State University are prepared to promote the app among their students and staff.”
COVID Alert DE does not collect or share personal information that can identify users. The app also does not use Global Positioning System location data to detect users’ location or track movements. The app uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology, which allows phones with the app to recognize when it is near other phones also running the application.
Delawareans identified as close contacts of positive cases may receive an alert from the app, as well as outreach from the Division of Public Health’s contact tracing team. An exposure alert on COVID Alert DE alone will not trigger a call from Delaware contact tracers.