State rolls out COVID-19 contact tracing app

State rolls out COVID-19 contact tracing app
New York Coronavirus (Source: MGN)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - New York is rolling out a contact tracing app to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the app, COVID Alert NY, would be launched today (Thursday).

“It’s using technology really on a level it’s never been used before,” Cuomo said.

He said the app will use Bluetooth technology to tell a person if they’ve been within six feet of someone who’s tested positive.

People who test positive would have to be registered in the app.

Cuomo said no names would appear in the app, personal privacy will be protected, and it’s voluntary.

“It’s a great tool to alert you if you happen to be within six feet of a person who tests positive,” Cuomo said.

The app is available for free download on iPhones and Android devices. It’s only available for those 18 and older.

Cuomo said Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania will also use the app and will soon come online.

The governor said the app will enhance the contact tracing that’s being done by around 15,000 “disease detectives” across the state.

The app was developed with help from Google, Apple, and the Linux Foundation and coordinated by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

In the meantime, the infection rate continues to increase for 20 zip code hotspots in Brooklyn, Rockland, and Orange counties.

The average rate for those zip codes was 6.5 percent Wednesday. It was 5.5 percent the day before.

The rates in some zip codes doubled and some even tripled.

Those zip codes account for more than one-quarter of the state’s total, but only 6 percent of the population.

Without those zip codes, the state’s rate was .98 percent. Including the test oversampling in the hotspots, the rate was 1.2 percent.

The north country’s rate Wednesday was .1 percent.

Eleven people died from COVID-19 Wednesday and the disease caused 612 people to be in hospitals, 141 in intensive care, and 63 on ventilators.

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