The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) on Friday announced that in just four days, more than 1,000,000 users activated WA Notify, a simple, anonymous exposure notification tool that uses smartphones to help stop the spread of COVID-19. More Washington residents opted in within the first 24 hours than any other state using this technology. As of 10 a.m. on Dec. 4, the number of phones with WA Notify is more than 19% of the number of Washington adults.
“Opting into exposure notification is something almost every Washington resident with a smartphone can do to help stop the spread of COVID-19, so we are gratified to see so many people adopting it quickly,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “If you haven’t activated WA Notify yet, please consider doing so. Studies from Oxford University and Stanford show that the more people who use a tool like WA Notify, the more effectively it will protect our communities.”
On Monday, Nov. 30, WA Notify launched in more than 29 languages so as many Washington residents as possible can access this tool. By adding WA Notify to their smartphones, Washington residents will be alerted if they spent time near another 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.
When voluntarily activated, phones with WA Notify use Bluetooth technology to exchange random codes with the phones of other users they are near. It does this without revealing a user’s identity or location. Users who test positive for COVID-19 can enter a verification code provided by public health into WA Notify, so that other users who have been near them within the last 14 days can be anonymously alerted and take appropriate action.
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: