COVID continues to hurt people everywhere. Around the world, governments, businesses, brands, and firms are struggling to survive. In some regions, they are almost back to normal. In some countries, it seems to be getting worse. There is still a call to stop the spread and to be honest, we don’t know when this pandemic situation will be over. As brands think of ways how to cope with reality, there are also groups working to help in any way they can.
The Virginia Department of Health (VDC) in the US has launched a new mobile app called COVIDWISE. It’s now listed on the Google Play Store under ‘Health & Fitness’ category. It’s the official app made especially for those living in Virginia.
COVIDWISE is for the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Health (VDH). It was developed in cooperation with SpringML. It was made using a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) API framework.
Google and Apple also worked on this project. This is a contract-tracing app that can help those in the state to be informed if they have been exposed to someone suspected of being COVID positive.
Early interventions are important. Using the app can help everyone in Virginia including the business industry, healthcare sector, K-12 schools, religious organizations, sports groups, and institutions of higher education.
The Covidwise app works by searching through the network for people who share the same BLE signals. When someone reports he has tested positive, the system will then look for those that used the same signals as the person. Signals are date-stamped so tracking is possible. Proximity is also checked based on the signal strength.
The timeframe is at least 15 minutes and the estimated distance is six feet. If a person falls under those times or distances, he will receive a notification. No name will be provided so the privacy of the COVID positive person is still intact. Participation is voluntary but, of course, people are encouraged to use the app so the government can effectively monitor and prevent the spread of the virus.
COVIDWISE’s BLE framework works in the background. It doesn’t drain the battery fast. It works even if the exposure notification app is closed.