FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 9, 2021
Melissa Gordon, VDH PIO, firstname.lastname@example.org
Virginia Department of Health Launches COVIDWISE Express as Additional Tool to Boost Exposure Notifications
New additional platform informs iPhone users of potential exposure to COVID-19 without having to download an app.
(Richmond, Va.) — Virginia is making it even easier for people to be notified of potential exposures to COVID-19. Last week, the Virginia Department of Health launched COVIDWISE Express, a new app-less exposure notifications technology for iPhone users in Virginia who do not already have the COVIDWISE app installed. Anonymously sending and receiving exposure notifications has never been easier. Since launching, COVIDWISE Express already has more than 504,000 users in Virginia.
COVIDWISE Express, which is available in both English and Spanish, will work solely on iPhones that have not installed COVIDWISE. When an iPhone user enables Exposure Logging on their smartphone, their device will automatically use the app-less experience, if the user hasn’t already downloaded COVIDWISE. The Express version of COVIDWISE works by communicating with a test verification server and the national key server at specific times, all while protecting the user’s privacy and location data. Android users, and iPhone users who already have the app, will continue to use COVIDWISE.
“COVIDWISE Express provides an additional option to help Virginia expand its existing exposure notifications and contact tracing operations without compromising user privacy or security,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “This technology will notify you if you’ve likely been exposed to another smartphone user who anonymously shared a positive COVID-19 test result. Knowing your exposure history allows you to self-quarantine effectively, seek timely medical attention, and reduce risk of exposing others.”
COVIDWISE launched on August 5, 2020 and has surpassed 994,000 downloads, making it one of the two most downloaded exposure notification apps in the United States. The free app, which is available through the App Store and the Google Play Store, alerts users if they have been in close contact with an individual who anonymously reported their positive COVID-19 test result.
On December 10, COVIDWISE began using the Association of Public Health Laboratories’ National Key Server, which allows COVIDWISE to work across D.C. and 19 states that have similar exposure notifications systems. This helps to ensure users receive exposure notifications, if exposed to persons from a participating jurisdiction.
VDH remains steadfastly committed to COVIDWISE privacy protections and continued adoption and widespread use of exposure notifications as a tool to support the public’s health and reduce the spread of the virus.
To learn more about COVIDWISE options, or to download the app, visit www.covidwise.org.