Virginians Encouraged to Download New COVID Phone App to Help Stop Spread

Gov. Northam announced a new phone app that allows Virginians to be notified if they've come in contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The COVIDWISE app allows people to voluntarily opt in to the notification system. Northam stressed that the app does not track or store anyone's personal information. The app uses Bluetooth technology and random key codes to track people who have tested positive and who have voluntarily entered their anonymous code into the system.

Dr. Norm Oliver, head of the Virginia Department of Health, says that the app has shown that for every one person who downloads the app, two cases of coronavirus can be prevented.

Virginia is the first state to utilize this app. Northam says the app can help people who may have been exposed to the virus to seek testing, while also helping with contact tracing.

The Covidwise app is available in the Apple app store and Google Play store.

The Governor also said that Virginia has joined a multi-state compact to purchase new and faster testing kits. Northam says the states in the compact will each receive 500,000 rapid antigen tests that can provided results in 15 to 20 minutes rather than the five or more days that current PCR tests are taking.

Virginia has seen an uptick in positive coronavirus cases over the past few weeks, especially in the eastern part of the state. Northam also noted an uptick in Southwestern Virginia.

More on this story from out media partner, ABC 13 - WSET.

Information about the COVIDWISE app from the VDH can be found here.

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