DHHS Launches SlowCOVIDNC App
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The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has announced the launch of a COVID-19 Exposure Notification app called SlowCOVIDNC.
The app will help North Carolinians slow the spread of the virus by alerting them when they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. It is completely anonymous and does not collect, store, or share personal information or location data. The more people that use the app, the better it works.
SlowCOVIDNC leverages Google and Apple’s Exposure Notification System (ENS) to alert users who have the app if they have been in close contact with an individual who later tests positive for COVID-19. It is voluntary to download and use, and is designed to enhance the state’s existing contact tracing efforts. The app can now be downloaded for free through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. The app is available in English and Spanish.
Here’s how SlowCOVIDNC will work:
- Download the free SlowCOVIDNC Exposure Notification app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and enable Bluetooth and Exposure Notifications. Bluetooth must be on for the app to work.
- After opting-in to receive notifications, the app will generate an anonymous token for the device. A token is a string of random letters and numbers which changes every 10-20 minutes and is never linked to identity or location. This protects app user privacy and security.
- Through Bluetooth, phones with the SlowCOVIDNC app work in the background (minimizing battery) to exchange these anonymous tokens every few minutes. Phones record how long they are near each other and the Bluetooth signal strength of their exchanges in order to estimate distance.
- If an app user tests positive for COVID-19, the individual may obtain a unique PIN to submit in the app. This voluntary and anonymous reporting notifies others who have downloaded the app that they may have been in close contact with someone in the last 14 days who has tested positive.
- PINs will be provided to app users who receive a positive COVID-19 test result through a web-based PIN Portal, by contacting the Community Care of North Carolina call center, or by contacting their Local Health Department.
- SlowCOVIDNC periodically downloads tokens from the server from the devices of users who have anonymously reported a positive test. Phones then use records of the signal strength and duration of exposures with those tokens to calculate risk and determine if an app user has met a threshold to receive an exposure notification.
To learn more about SlowCOVIDNC and to download the app, visit the SlowCOVIDNC website, which also includes an FAQ.