PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – As soon as David White tested positive for COVID-19, he clicked on his COVIDWISE app to report the case. “I was in the hospital for two days, my fever was 105 and crept up to 108 and I knew if I had it this bad with the vaccine, if anyone catches what I had from me, then they need to get notified immediately.”

Try as he did, White said he just couldn’t get the app to work, “The site was just acting funny, I kept refreshing it and it just generated the same error message. After like six days I was just done.”

White is not the only one reporting problems. Another 10 On Your Side viewer emailed to say that she couldn’t get a verification code to report her case. Still another person said she received a notification that she had been exposed 13 days ago. Too late to be useful.

10 On Your Side contacted the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) for some answers.

“We don’t have a lot of people stating that they’re having a problem. That’s good, but we don’t want any problems,” said VDH Chief of Staff Jeff Stover.

He said the VDH IT team is there to help and directed those experiencing issues with the app to fill out the form on Covidwise.org.

White said he did not see the form and neither did 10 On Your Side at first. It’s a bit hard to find, located under the Apple and Google logos in small blue print. Click here to save some time. Once you fill it out Stover said they can usually help that day.

As for people who have received late notifications, Stover explained, “It is completely dependent on the person who is anonymously sending in their positive result.”

Your phone, he said, seeks out close contacts twice a day and will ping you if one of them reports a positive case, but if it takes the person 7 days or 10 days to report it, that’s when you’ll get the notification.

White finally got through after a week. “I still want to be a good person and just hopefully let other people get the exposure notification.” He wonders though, if it was worth it.

“I would say that it is worth it,” Stover said. “You know, the more people that use it the more useful it becomes.”

2.6 million Virginians have downloaded the app, but Stover said that doesn’t mean they’re all using it.
VDH reports COVIDWISE is sending, on average, 1,900 notifications a day with record number on New Year’s Eve of more than 5,260.

That’s still a small fraction of the number of positive cases reported to VDH and includes NO at home tests.
Still, Stover said it is a tool to help those who choose to use it.