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Pennsylvania Department Of Health Launches Coronavirus Alert App

Penn State students can now join the fight against the coronavirus simply by installing an app on their phones.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health officially launched its COVID Alert PA app last week as part of its continuous contact tracing and coronavirus mitigation efforts.

The app displays statewide infection statistics, helps you track symptoms, and uses Bluetooth to alert you of possible virus exposure.

“We are pleased to see this type of COVID-related resource generated by our State Department of Health as another layer of awareness for all Pennsylvanians,” Kelly Wolgast, director of Penn State’s COVID-19 Operations Control Center (COCC), said. “We hope to more fully explore this application now that it has been made public to learn more about how it may complement the efforts we are taking to address COVID-19 within our Penn State communities.”

The app’s flagstone feature is its use of Bluetooth Low Energy, which detects if you’ve come into close contact with another app user and notifies you if that user tests positive. If you’ve been within 6 feet of someone for more than 15 minutes, it will flag that person and check their app ID against the list of COVID-19 positive app IDs for the next 14 days.

The app uses technology that doesn’t collect any location information and creates data that can only be accessed by public health authorities, ensuring your privacy. Its symptom check-in feature also provides guidance if you’re feeling sick and displays daily statewide statistics.

Although no one is required to download the app, the state explains that the more people that use it, the more effective it is at contact tracing. So far, more than 140,000 Pennsylvanians have downloaded it since it launched on September 22.

It’s available on the App Store and Google Play Store for those running iOS 13.5 and higher and Android 6.0 or higher, respectively.

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected].

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