LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Nevada coronavirus contact tracing application called “COVID Trace” launched last week should work well with a similar tool that Google and Apple are rolling out to alert people who might have been exposed to COVID-19, officials said Wednesday.
“They actually run in parallel and complementary,” Julia Peek, deputy Nevada health administrator, said after reporting 20,000 downloads since the state app debuted Aug. 24 for Apple and Android phones.
The free app is designed to let phones anonymously and automatically exchange data by Bluetooth and notify a phone user if they’ve been near someone who tested positive for COVID-19, if that person has granted permission and added their phone ID to a database of positive cases.
Officials say the system does not share names or user identification with other users or companies like Google and Apple. They also said that people who receive proximity alerts will be offered testing and health advice to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
Peek told reporters that widening the notification net should also help reach visitors to Nevada from states that don’t have similar COVID-19 tracing technology.
The tracing app is separate from an emergency management notification that was widely received by Las Vegas-area cellphone users on Tuesday, highlighted by an electronic alert tone, state coronavirus response chief Caleb Cage said.
The activation from the Clark County Office of Emergency Management was used to advertise a free “Stop, Swab & Go” coronavirus testing program that began Monday at three Las Vegas-area sites with help from the federal government. It has a goal of testing 60,000 people by Sept. 18.
A statement from the county said officials determined they could use the alert under existing emergency powers invoked for the COVID-19 public health threat.
State health officials reported 239 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide on Wednesday, the lowest daily tally in seven weeks. The 23 new deaths reported brought the statewide total to 1,136 since the first death was reported March 5.
More than 862,000 tests have been performed, the state Department of Health and Human Services said.
Nevada on Monday ranked 16th among states and the District of Columbia in the number of new cases of COVID-19 per capita in the past 14 days, according to the COVID Tracking Project.