Publish date:

New app will help Minnesotans find out about COVID-19 exposures

Personal information is not obtained by Google, Apple or the State of Minnesota.
Author:
Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 8.35.40 AM

Governor Tim Walz is expected to unveil new technology that will help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota, and it's likely that his Monday press conference will be centered on a new website and app that Minnesotans can utilize. 

Image from iOS (8)

The app and website are already available to use. You can download the free app by searching for "COVIDaware MN" in your app store. The website link is here.  

According to the website, the technology is based on Bluetooth tracking that will help "notify you if you have been exposed to COVID-19, so you can reduce the risk of infection for your friends, family, and neighbors, and help Minnesota slow the spread." 

All you have to do is download the app and opt-in to the notification system. At that point, the app creates an anonymous key for your phone that helps protect your identity and location. The key number changes every 10-20 minutes, the website says. 

In short, the app will understand your location and the location of everyone else who uses the app. If anyone using the app tests positive for COVID-19, anyone who was exposed to that person will receive a notification. The app doesn't record or store your location, it only uses it for the purpose of determining if you've been exposed to COVID-19. 

Here's how COVIDaware MN explains the process. 

"Your phone and the phones around you work anonymously in the background, using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to exchange these privacy-protected keys. This is a passive process that begins once you opt-in. It functions without the app open, and it won't won’t drain your battery. 

"On a daily basis, your phone downloads a list of all the anonymous keys associated with positive COVID-19 cases and checks them against the list of random keys your phone has encountered in the last 14 days.

"If there’s a match, the app will notify you with further instructions from the Minnesota Department of Health about what you need to do to keep you and the people around you safe."

But the only way the app can know if someone has tested positive is for that person to upload a verification code from the test result. Verification codes are provided to people who test positive. 

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Once the code is uploaded, anyone who was exposed to that person will receive a push notification. '

An exposure is based on being within six feet of an infectious person for 15 or more minutes. 

The app does not record your location, the website says, and it does not allow Google, Apple the State of Minnesota to collect information about you. 

Read all about the app's privacy settings here

Walz will talk more about the app at 12:30 p.m. 

Next Up

Anthony Edwards

Ant's rally not enough to save Timberwolves

Edwards' third-quarter explosion came too late in a loss to the Pelicans.

Rent, mortgage, house, key, door

Victims of property manager's sexual harassment to get $736,000

It's part of a consent decree announced by the Department of Justice Monday.

The Liffey Pub Facebook

St. Paul's Irish pub The Liffey reveals it won't reopen

The beloved pub has been closed since the start of the pandemic.

Proctor football

Proctor football investigation: Case goes to county attorney

The office will review the evidence and consider possible criminal charges.

kirsten mitchell screegrab

'I’m heading home!': CA reporter announces return to WCCO

Kirsten Mitchell interned at WCCO years ago. Now, she's coming back as a reporter.

eggs

As part of price gouging settlement, farm to donate 1M eggs to food nonprofits

The egg producer will donate more than 1 million eggs to nonprofits fighting hunger.

plane, Piper PA-32

Sheriff: Witnesses saw plane 'performing aerial maneuvers' before fatal crash

The single-engine aircraft went down in northern Wisconsin, killing a brother and sister.

Screen Shot 2021-10-25 at 8.51.02 AM

Community rallies around Minnetonka HS dancer battling brain tumor

A fundraiser raised more than $44,000 of its $60,000 goal in the first two days.

twin city gardens

In rare move, MDH takes control of Minneapolis nursing home

The temporary receivership is to ensure resident safety.

Sen Mark Koran crop

Lawmaker deletes post encouraging donations to family charged in Capitol riot

Sen. Mark Koran, in his Facebook post, described them as "a good family!"

Related

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 8.35.40 AM

More than 230,000 people have downloaded Minnesota's COVID exposure app

The more people who use the app, the more effective it is.

coronavirus, sars-cov-2

Antibody testing would help Minnesotans learn if they had COVID-19

If rolled out to the public, it could help determine if your illness was COVID-19 or something else.

Screen Shot 2020-05-08 at 8.44.54 AM

COVID-19 exposure sends KFAN's morning show home

Producer Zach Halverson was in the studio before his symptoms began.

covid-19, coronavirus

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, September 28

The newest information provided by the Minnesota Department of Health.

coronavirus, COVID-19 test

Last day for anyone to get a free COVID-19 test from the National Guard

Tests are available as supplies last at six armory locations around the state.

heart monitor, hospital

What health officials have learned about COVID-19 deaths in MN

As of Tuesday, medical records of 146 of 405 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Minnesota have been evaluated.

coronavirus, COVID-19, ICU

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Sunday, Jan. 31

The newest information from the state health department.