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Wisconsin to launch coronavirus tracking app

(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s governor wants everyone to know the new coronavirus tracking app coming to the state will be voluntary. 

GHov. Evers’ office on Thursday made a point to say, repeatedly, that the WI Exposure Notification app will only work when people opt-in. 

“The voluntary WI Exposure Notification app is another tool in our toolbox to stop the spread. Because it lets you know faster if you’ve been in close contact with someone who’s tested positive, you can take steps to keep yourself safe and protect those around you,” Gov. Evers said in a statement. “Also, the app doesn’t collect or use device location, so users will remain anonymous.”

The app is the latest in Wisconsin’s effort to track who tests positive for the coronavirus, and where. 

The governor’s office says the app works by anonymously sharing Bluetooth signals with other people who are using the app nearby. Everyone in Wisconsin who tests positive for the coronavirus will receive a code for the app. When they enter that code, their phone anonymously notifies other people’s phones that  they may have been near someone who was coronavirus contagious.

“The more people who use the app, the more effective it will be,” Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm said on Thursday. 

The app is already installed on iPhones, but people who use Android phones will need to download and install the app. 

The WI Exposure Notification app will launch on December 23. DHS said just about everyone in Wisconsin who has a smartphone will receive a text within a few days of the system going live.

DHS is also promising an FAQ section, and a video on the app at its website in the next few days. 

By Benjamin Yount | The Center Square
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