Pennsylvania Releases an App to Help in Covid-19 Tracing

Written by on September 28, 2020

Pennsylvania Releases an App to Help in Covid-19 Tracing

By Megan Frank

September 28, 2020

Photo | Megan Frank / WLVR

Would you like to know if you’re near someone who has coronavirus? Pennsylvania now has an app for that. Since its release on Tuesday, the state-issued contact tracing app has been downloaded over 74,000 times.

COVID Alert PA is an app that will ping you if you’re near someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. 

The Department of Health says the platform will help keep track of cases – and notify people who may need to quarantine. 

April Hutcheson, spokeswoman for the department, says user identity is kept anonymous.

“We wanted to find a platform that didn’t use GPS. It was very important to make sure that Pennsylvanians’ privacy is protected. We’re using the thing we carry every day with us, to let people know if they’ve been exposed to COVID,” said Hutcheson.

Philadelphia resident Kimberly Schoolfield was pinged within a few hours of downloading the app.

“I got pinged by three people! I was at home and it said that three people were positive. I want to know where the high-risk areas are so that I can stay away from them,” said Schoolfield.

Conshohocken resident Karen Little says she won’t download the app – and wouldn’t panic if she was near someone who got pinged.

“I’m very healthy and I’m not necessarily afraid of it. I would keep shopping.”

COVID Alert PA has a number of in-app features, including a symptom tracker for people who think they may have contracted the virus. 

Case numbers are also updated in real-time.

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