Did You Know MN Has a COVID-19 Exposure App? Here’s How It Works.
Back at the end of November, the state of Minnesota released a new COVIDaware MN app that alerts users if they've been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Despite being downloaded by some 230,000 Minnesotans within the first two weeks -- as reported by KARE 11 - many Minnesotans still seem to be unaware that the free app exists at all. For those who have download it, many seem to have questions.
"I just found out that we have an app (COVIDaware MN app) that alerts you if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and instructs you on what steps to take next," shared one person on the Minnesota thread of Reddit. "Maybe I’m just really out of the loop, but several of my friends and family were unaware of it as well." The individual went on to voice some questions such as "If you don’t have the app, were you not aware of it?" "Do you have privacy concerns?" "If you do have it...what has your experience been?"
The general consensus from those in the online Reddit forum is yes -- many have downloaded the app but not received any notifications yet, leading some to wonder if the app works at all.
"I am a healthcare worker in direct contact with covid patients, ER patients, inpatients, and outpatients," said one person. "Have not received an exposure alert even though I have my phone with me everywhere I go. I have been questioning the effectiveness of the app given my experience."
So how does the COVIDaware MN App work?
In a nutshell, the free app alerts you when you've been in "close contact" -- or within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more -- of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Once a person has tested positive, their test results are uploaded to the app, anonymously alerting others who come within "close contact." The app does not track your geographic location; rather, it uses Bluetooth to sense when it is within contact of someone else who is also using the app. The more people who have downloaded and are using the app, the more effective it is. For that reason, the state is encouraging all Minnesotans and anyone who spends a significant amount of time in Minnesota to download COVIDaware MN and begin using it. Still, some who have downloaded the app have questioned its usefulness.
"We had five confirmed cases with coworkers I was in direct contact with for my shift four days last week," shared one on Reddit. "Still no app notifications for exposures."
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