Last week the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced a new smartphone COVID-19 exposure app which is intended to notify state residents when they have been in close contact with a positive case of the virus.
Many, if not all of us have probably received automatic notifications to download or enable the app at this point, and we want this to serve as a friendly reminder to go ahead and do so. This app could be a major game changer in how we manage the spread of COVID-19 statewide and in our communities.
For ten or more months, we’ve all been saying that we are ready to return to “normal”, and this app, along with vaccination, could very well be the first steps towards getting us back there. The way we currently stand, county health departments are overwhelmed, they have stated many times they are unable to keep up with personal contact tracing notifications, which means there are likely infectious but asymptomatic individuals wandering around our communities, due simply to being unaware they were exposed to the virus.
The exposure notification app can remedy that, it anonymously notifies close contacts of individuals who test positive so that others can quarantine and take precautions to lessen the spread.
The app doesn’t collect or store GPS or personal data, it uses anonymized bluetooth connections with nearby smartphones. Those who test positive will receive a text messaging asking if they would like to notify those they have been in close contact with for more than 15 minutes.
If you receive this text, please send notifications. It’s completely anonymous and your friends, family and the random strangers you may have been in contact with deserve to know for their safety and so they don’t infect anyone else.
There is no shame to sending those notifications, the shame is not allowing others to know they could be carrying a potentially deadly virus.
Privacy concerns are always valid, however DHS and mobile operating software developers have gone above and beyond to reaasure us that there is no tracking done and that the “handshakes” shared between phone are truly anonymous.
Please enable, download and use this app. This, along with a breakthrough in vaccinations, seems to finally be the first glimmer of a light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic.