LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The state of Nevada launched a COVID-19 contact tracing app to help slow the spread of the virus by alerting residents and visitors of possible exposure.
"COVID Trace" was developed by a team of former Google and Uber engineers. One of the developers said they focused on three key objectives: keep it simple, private and effective.
"When there was an opportunity to use technology through an app to help with COVID we were excited to learn more and figure out if this could be a solution in Nevada," said Julia Peek.
Peek is the Deputy Administrator for the Division of Public and Behavioral Health. She said the app is a fast and discreet way of letting people know if they've been exposed.
"After being notified, they can take early and quick action to prevent the spread to their friends family coworkers and the general public," said Peek.
During a webinar Friday afternoon, one of the developers Dudley Carr, explained how it works. He said when two phones are in close contact they will exchange and store anonymous tokens through Bluetooth. The app categorizes them as, “sent, seen and positive.”
Once someone is positive, a contact tracer will reach out and ask if they can share their information from the app.
"The health authority now has all the tokens you’ve given out over the last two weeks. It doesn’t say anything about who that person is, where they’ve been, who they’ve came in contact to, it is purely the random numbers," said Carr.
Each person’s phone will scan to see if it’s stored any tokens that match the token of a positive person.
"The fact that those people came into contact somewhere in the world is exclusively known to that phone," said Carr.
Carr said developers like himself don't even have access to that information.
"It doesn’t have any of your health information and it certainly doesn’t share that with anybody else," said Carr.
Former MGM Resorts International CEO and current COVID-19 Task Force leader Jim Murren, said he is talking to dozens of employers including MGM Resorts and Caesars entertainment about using the app.
"They believe not only is this important for their employees but for the community itself," he said.
The app is entirely opt-in which means not only do users have to download it, they have to take more steps to start notifying people once they’re positive.
Carr said the more people who use it, the more effective.
It launched on Monday for both iPhone and Android Users and is available in English and Spanish.