As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, states are now looking to institute some form of contact tracing. Contact tracing helps identify and contact all the people who came into contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. People who are at high risk because of a chance encounter with an infected individual can watch symptoms and seek treatment before developing a severe form of the illness.
Some states are using Apple and Google’s Exposure Notification API, others are using a third-party app-based solution, and even more are using people instead of apps to track the potential spread of the disease.
Among the states using contact tracing apps are Alabama, North Dakota, and South Carolina, which are the first U.S. states to sign on to Apple and Google’s solution and join 22 other countries worldwide.
North Dakota issued a strong statement in support of the Exposure Notification API, noting that contact tracing is essential to re-opening schools, businesses, and community activities.
“North Dakota is excited to be among the first states in the nation to utilize the exposure notification technology built by Apple and Google to help keep our citizens safe. As we respond to this unprecedented public health emergency, we invite other states to join us in leveraging smartphone technologies to strengthen existing contact tracing efforts, which are critical to getting communities and economies back up and running.”Governor Doug Burgum
The company plans to adopt its CARE19 app developed in conjunction with ProudCrowd, which also created a popular Bison Tracker app.
Alabama’s contract tracing app will be developed by the state’s public health department along with the University of Alabama System and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
“The Alabama Department of Public Health is working in partnership with Apple and Google, the University of Alabama System, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham to utilize this technology,” said Landers to Alabama NewsCenter. “This technology can allow the ability to accelerate exposure notification of persons who have been in close contact with COVID-19. By notifying early in exposure, persons will be able to take measures such as self-isolation and other ways to protect themselves.”Dr. Karen Landers, Alabama Assistant State Health Officer
The state department of health and the Medical University of South Carolina are working together on the SC-Safer-Together app, which will utilize Apple’s Exposure Notification API.
Several states have developed their own solutions or used existing solutions, such as COVID Link or the SARA alert system. These solutions are used in conjunction with traditional contact tracing and are not standalone apps based on Apple and Google’s Exposure Notification system.
Adoption May Be a Significant Hurdle
For these contact tracing apps to be successful, they have to be downloaded by at least 60 percent of the population. It remains to be seen whether enough people will voluntarily download and enable their state’s contact tracing app.
List of States
- Alabama > Apple/Google
- Alaska > Unknown
- Arizona > Working on own solution
- Arkansas > Working on own solution (Sara Alert)
- California > Working on own solution
- Colorado > Working on own solution
- Connecticut > Working on own solution (Microsoft’s ContaCT)
- Delaware > Working on own solution
- Florida > Unknown
- Georgia > Unknown
- Hawaii > Working on own solution (HealthSpace)
- Idaho > Working on own solution (Sara Alert)
- Illinois > Unknown
- Indiana > Unknown
- Iowa > Unknown
- Kansas > Unknown
- Kentucky > Unknown
- Louisiana > Unknown
- Maine > Unknown
- Maryland > Working on own solution (COVID Link)
- Massachusetts > Unknown
- Michigan > Working on own solution
- Minnesota > Unknown
- Mississippi > Unknown
- Missouri > Unknown
- Montana > Unknown
- Nebraska > Unknown
- Nevada > Unknown
- New Hampshire > Unknown
- New Jersey > Unknown
- New Mexico > Unknown
- New York > Unknown
- North Carolina > Working on own solution
- North Dakota > Will Participate
- Ohio > Working on own solution
- Oklahoma > Unknown
- Oregon > Unknown
- Pennsylvania > Working on own solution (Sara Alert)
- Rhode Island > Unknown
- South Carolina > Will Participate
- South Dakota > Working on own solution
- Tennessee > Working on own solution
- Texas > Working on own solution
- Utah > Unknown
- Vermont > Unknown
- Virginia > Working on own solution
- Washington > Working on own solution
- West Virginia > Working on own solution
- Wisconsin > Working on own solution
- Wyoming > Working on own solution