RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia has launched an extension of its existing COVIDWISE technology.
On Tuesday, the Virginia Department of Health announced the launch of “COVIDWISE Express,” an app-less technology that will notify Virginians if they’ve possibly been exposed to COVID-19.
COVIDWISE Express launched last week and functions similarly to the COVIDWISE app, which launched in August, but doesn’t require downloading the app itself.
It’s only available to iPhone users, who can go into their settings and find the “Exposure Notifications” tab and turn the notifications to “on.”
Since last week, the COVIDWISE Express already has more than 504,000 users in Virginia. The original COVIDWISE app has more than 994,000 downloads.
COVIDWISE Express is also available in both English and Spanish.
“The Express version of COVIDWISE works by communicating with a test verification server and the national key server at specific times, all while protecting the user’s privacy and location data. Android users, and iPhone users who already have the app, will continue to use COVIDWISE,” the VDH said.
“COVIDWISE Express provides an additional option to help Virginia expand its existing exposure notifications and contact tracing operations without compromising user privacy or security,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver. “This technology will notify you if you’ve likely been exposed to another smartphone user who anonymously shared a positive COVID-19 test result. Knowing your exposure history allows you to self-quarantine effectively, seek timely medical attention, and reduce risk of exposing others.”
The department of health says COVIDWISE is one of the two most-downloaded exposure notification apps in the United States.
In early December, state officials said the app had so far sent out 10,643 likely exposure notifications (person who tests positive was within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes), with a 5-day average of 82 notifications per day.
The app is also connected to systems in 15 other states and Washington D.C.
To learn more about COVIDWISE options, or to download the app, visit the COVIDWISE website.