KAHULUI, Hawaii (KHON2) — The AlohaSafe Alert app has officially launched in Maui County. The smartphone app is part of an exposure notification program that works to alert people if they’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Maui is the first county in the state of Hawaii to adopt the program. Pilot testing for AlohaSafe began on Lanai and Hana on Nov. 11. The app has seen more than 7,000 downloads since then.
Mayor Victorino says Maui County has been pushing for technological advances to better protect Maui residents and visitors.
“We urge people to download this app, because widespread use of this technology by residents and visitors alike would make it most effective in our fight against this disease,” Mayor Victorino said. “AlohaSafe Alert is a powerful example of our community coming together so that Maui County and our state can move toward a healthier future.”
The application is free and can be downloaded now from the Apple Store or Google Play. It is part of a nationwide effort by public health authorities and technology firms to assist in curbing the spread of COVID-19.
Currently, 17 states and the District of Columbia are participating in the Google Apple Exposure Notification (“GAEN”) system. The AlohaSafe Alert app is able to communicate with any app on the GAEN system, which is vitally important in highly traveled areas, such as Maui County.
After the app is downloaded, the smartphone uses Bluetooth technology to anonymously communicate with other phones that also have a GAEN application. Devices will automatically “ping” each other, measuring the strength of the Bluetooth signal and the duration of a contact.
If a person becomes infected with COVID-19, Maui officials say the Department of Health will send a code that will automatically send anonymous notifications to others who may have been exposed.
Officials assure that identifiable information is not used or collected for privacy reasons.
To trigger a notification alert, devices must be within six feet of each other for at least 15 minutes in the past 14 days.