Washington State Launches COVID-19 Exposure App

Brooke Chapman, Feature Editor

    On Monday, November 30th, Washington—along with dozens of other states, released a Covid Exposure App. This voluntary notification app informs Washington citizens if they have come in contact with people who have recently been tested positive for Covid-19. 

    In a news conference, Washington Health Secretary John Wiseman emphasized the benefits of such a program. “It rapidly gets the information out to people who were close contacts to watch for symptoms, to make them aware of testing opportunities, to self-quarantine and if they’re infected, to isolate,” said Wiesman.

    Apple’s iPhone users can now activate the Exposure Notifications in their settings. “If you haven’t activated WA Notify yet, please consider doing so. Studies from Oxford University and Stanford show that the more people who use a tool like WA Notify, the more effectively it will protect our communities,” said Wiesman. In the first 24 hours of the app’s release, Washington residents had opted-in to the program at a higher rate than any other state.

    Additionally the app has the approval of major tech corporations. “Research has revealed that exposure notifications can ‘save lives at all levels of uptake’, and showed that a staff dedicated to working on contact tracing combined with 15 percent of the population using exposure notifications could reduce infections by 15 percent and deaths by 11 percent,” said Stephanie Hannon, Google production management senior director in an end-of-year update.

     As the progression of the pandemic continues, a new digital aspect could reduce cases throughout the United States. From a study done by Snohomish, King, and Pierce counties, it is thought to believe this app alone could curb infections by 8 percent and deaths by 6 percent.