COVID-19 Contact Tracing App Now Available in Minnesota, Governor Says

Ruben Fields
November 26, 2020

This code can then be used within the app and alert other COVIDaware MN users who have recently been in close contact with the person who tested positive. It does not use Global Positioning System or any other technology that would track a user's location. One in every 120 people in Minnesota tested positive in the past week.

"Knowing when we've been exposed to COVID-19 is a critical part of curbing the spread of COVID-19, especially as cases surge", said Lieutenant Gov. Peggy Flanagan. Once received, the user can upload the positive result to their app and it will anonymously notify other users within 12 to 24 hours that someone who came into contact with them tested positive for the virus. Minnesota hospitals were treating 1,778 people for COVID-19 as of Monday, including 364 in intensive care. It does not use any information that would identify a user, nor does it share users' identifying information with Apple, Google or the state.

State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said last week that Minnesota might need to reconsider its use of contact tracing workers because of the rapid increase in infections and the struggle to reach all infected patients quickly.

"We're seeing a risky surge in cases across the state". "With COVIDaware MN, Minnesotans can learn of an exposure to COVID-19 even when the exposure involves people they don't know". "And so this is really important as we work to slow down the spread of COVID in Minnesota". "The more individuals that download the app, the better we can inform our community about potential exposures".

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Penetration in some European counties quickly reached 20% to 35%, said Ramesh Raskar, founder of the PathCheck Foundation, a spinoff from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is promoting the technology and helped develop the application for Minnesota.

More than a dozen states now use the technology, with many unveiling similar COVID-19 tracking tools in recent weeks.

-Information provided by the Office of Tim Walz.

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