HILO, Hawaii (KHON2) — The AlohaSafe Alert application became available to residents of Hawaii County on Tuesday, Dec. 29, for those who want to add an extra layer of protection from exposure to COVID-19 to their smartphone.
The application is designed to slow the spread by notifying users who come into close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. The mayor of Hawaii County says, he is excited about this new technology.
“We are excited to announce this community led innovation that harnesses technology to help privately track exposure to the virus. We understand that this app will not reach everyone, however, it’s an additional tool that will speed up the contact notification process and puts the health and safety of our community right at our fingertips.”Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth
Users of the app who test positive will receive a text message that allows them to make their device detectable and alert others of their exposure.
Other users will then receive a notification if the minimum thresholds of exposures are met, and can opt-out of the notifications at any time. To trigger a notification alert, devices must be within six feet of each other for at least 15 minutes in the past 14 days.
The voluntary application protects the privacy of users by ensuring that no personal data leaves the phone unless the owner chooses to share the information with the Department of Health.
There are currently 17 other states and 19 other countries that use this technology, and studies from Oxford University show one infection can be avoided for every two people that opt-in to use the app. Maui County was the first in Hawaii to adopt the program on Thursday, Dec. 17.
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