‘COVID Alert PA’ to be removed from app stores by end of July

Written by on July 14, 2022

‘COVID Alert PA’ to be removed from app stores by end of July

By Megan Frank
July 14, 2022

The Pennsylvania Department of Health says the app is no longer a critical tool. (Photo | WLVR)

In a few weeks, Pennsylvanians will no longer get a ping on their phones if they are near someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.  

The state Department of Health says its “COVID Alert” app is no longer a critical tool.

Listen to the story.

Dan Lopresti, professor of computer science and engineering at Lehigh University, disagrees, saying the tech is worthwhile,

“Given the havoc that COVID wreaked on our society, anything that can save hundreds or thousands of people from being infected or even dying is significant,” said Lopresti. 

Lopresti said app features like data on state and county-by-county COVID infections and vaccination locations were useful and could have been expanded. 

“In the very early days when we had to scramble to find appointments to get vaccinated, I used a completely different website to find that information.  It would have been wonderful if the app had made that possible,” Lopresti said.

He also said the tech could have been used to inform people about other public health issues, like flu cases.

“This technology could have multiple uses beyond the original intention which was COVID,” said Lopresti.

And he pointed out that the pandemic isn’t over.  

“We should be using this opportunity right now to develop and de-bug these technologies so that the next time we’re confronted by something like this we’ve got them all in place,” said Lopresti.

The state Department of Health is still operating its COVID-19 Dashboard, which reviews the number of cases and deaths by county.  It’s updated every Wednesday.  

Additional information from the agency about testing and vaccinations is available on its site.

More than 1.2 million people downloaded “COVID Alert PA” during its nearly two-year run.

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