App launches on MSU's campus that gives possible COVID-19 exposure notifications

A new pilot app has been launched in Michigan that will help alert users to possible exposure of COVID-19

Right now the app is only available on Michigan State University's campus, where a significant amount of cases have been reported since the fall semester resumed. But state officials are interested in expanding the app based on results of this pilot program. 

The app, called MI COVID Alert, is a voluntary, anonymous exposure notification system that's free to use. Here's how it works. 

If you test positive for COVID-19, the local health department will give you a code number. That code number is them submitted to the app anonymously and will alert students, faculty and staff and others who may have also been exposed to the virus. 

MI COVID Alert uses low energy Bluetooth technology to detect nearby phones that also have the app. If a MI COVID Alert user has been in close contact with someone who submitted a positive COVID-19 test result, a push notification will be sent to their phone once the positive test result is entered into the system.

A notification means the app user was possibly within six feet for at least 15 minutes of someone who tested positive and shared their result. 

The app is not meant to replace traditional contact tracing, mask-wearing, hand washing and social distancing. It is another, possibly faster way to know about possible exposure to COVID-19

MSU students, faculty and staff as well as members of the local community are encouraged to download and use MI COVID Alert.

The State of Michigan will evaluate the expansion of the app statewide based on the results of the pilot program.

Other states, including Virginia, Arizona, New York, Alabama and New Jersey, recently launched similar exposure notifications apps statewide. Additional states have apps in development.