The Village News: Editorials


 
October 2, 2020

COVID Alert NY

 

EditorialFor several months I’ve been hearing about a computer program that will alert you if you’ve been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and I just received a copy of the program.

COVID Alert NY is a testing and tracing program that can significantly help stop the spread of COVID-19. Developed by NY State, “COVID Alert NY” is a free smartphone app that uses Bluetooth technology, not location data, to quickly alert you if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. If the program alerts you, you can then quickly protect yourself and others by self-quarantining and then contact your doctor so that you can be tested.

Personally, I can’t see any down side to using the program. No personal data is collected and your privacy is always maintained. Your location is never tracked or collected by the program.

I’ve gone ahead and signed up for the program. It only took a minute or so. Here is more complete information on the program that Governor Cuomo has made available and links to sign up if you’d like. I’m proud that once again, New York State is the leader in the fight against COVID-19.

COVID Alert NY

“NY State has worked hard over these past months to establish a nation-leading testing and tracing program. Together with all the measures New Yorkers have taken to stop the spread, state-of-the-art testing and tracing have helped us make remarkable progress. Today, we build on this effort by adding an innovative new tool: COVID Alert NY — the official Exposure Notification App created by the New York State Department of Health in partnership with Google and Apple. Now you can use your phone to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and you can receive exposure alert notifications without compromising your privacy or personal information.

What is COVID Alert NY?

COVID Alert NY is New York State's official Exposure Notification App. This is a free smartphone app available to anyone 18+ who lives and/or works in New York. The app uses Bluetooth technology — not location data — to quickly alert users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Once alerted, users can quickly protect themselves and others by self-quarantining, contacting their physician and getting tested.

Get alerts today:
 
Download the app on your iPhone here. 

Download the app on your Android device here.
 
How does COVID Alert NY protect my privacy?

The app does not compromise privacy or collect your personal information. Use of the app is completely voluntary and anonymous. The app will never track your location.

Privacy is protected because your data is kept anonymous and is not identifiable to any individual. The State Department of Health cannot identify who downloads the app, and does not collect your name, phone number or other personal information. Any data you voluntarily choose to share is anonymous and can be deleted at any time. Learn more about the app's expert-vetted security and privacy here.

How does COVID Alert NY work?

As you go about your day, the app uses Bluetooth to sense when another person with the same app comes within 6 feet of you. Your phone exchanges a secure random code with the other phone to record your proximity.

If the app notes that you've been within 6 feet of someone for more than 10 minutes, the app adds their phone's random code to a list of close contacts. When a fellow app user tests positive for COVID-19, a Case Investigator from the county health department will ask if the person is willing to share the app's list of "close contact" codes to help protect other people. Sharing your list is secure and private. The app never reveals who you are to anyone.

Each day, the list of codes for "confirmed cases" is sent to every phone that has the app. The app compares its own list of close contact codes to the list of confirmed cases. If there's a match, the app displays a COVID Alert. Using these lists of anonymous codes, the alert is kept private. No one ever knows who generated the COVID Alert.

Neighboring states including New Jersey and Pennsylvania have launched Exposure Notification Apps that work in concert with New York's, meaning New Yorkers will also get alerted if they have been exposed to someone from one of these states who tests positive.

How you can help:

The more New Yorkers using the COVID Alert NY app, the more effective it will be as a tool to stop the spread of COVID-19. Download the app today and encourage your friends and loved ones to download it, too. Alerts can only come from other people who use the app, so we need as many New Yorkers as possible to download the app.

Help New York Stop the Spread: Download the app and get exposure alerts.

The COVID Alert NY app puts the power in the hands of all New Yorkers to protect ourselves, our neighbors, friends, family and community. Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19.”

 


 

If you have a comment and would like to respond to any of the above, we'd be glad to consider printing your response. Please send your comments to larry@bellport.com. You can read the comments we receive on our Letters To The Editor page.

Sincerely,

Larry Sribnick

Larry Sribnick
Editor/Publisher, Bellport.com