Technology does not reveal location or personal data
OLYMPIA — By the end of December, in less than a month from rollout, more than 1.5 million people activated WA Notify, a simple, anonymous exposure notification tool that uses smartphones to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Signup represents more than a quarter of all adults in Washington state.
The number of WA Notify users puts Washington state among the top five states for the use of this technology, when compared to the state’s adult population, the Washington State Department of Health said.
“By using WA Notify, Washington residents are stepping up to protect themselves and our communities from COVID-19,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, deputy secretary of health for COVID-19 response. “The more people who use exposure notification technology, the more effective it is.”
Thanks to a recent operating system update by Apple, people with an older iPhone who hoped to use WA Notify may now be able to. Once they are updated to the new version of the operating system — 12.5 — WA Notify can now be enabled on iPhone 6, 6 Plus, or 5s.
On Monday, Nov. 30, WA Notify launched in more than 29 languages so as many Washington residents as possible can access this tool. When people in Washington add WA Notify to their smartphones, they will get an alert if they spent time near another WA Notify user who later tests positive for COVID-19.
WA Notify uses privacy-preserving technology jointly developed by Google and Apple and works without collecting or revealing any location or personal data.
WA Notify is free and can be enabled in iPhone settings or downloaded as an app from the Google Play Store for Android phones. Users can opt out at any time.
To learn more, visit WANotify.org. Details are given in multiple languages.