New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday that there is a new smartphone app that can alert residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware if they have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
"What this app will do is it will tell you if you are within six feet of a person who tested positive, and if you were within six feet of a person who tested positive for 10 minutes," Cuomo said..
The free program is called COVID Alert.
"The way it will work is when a person tests positive, the Department of Health contacts that person, asks that person if they have an iPhone, gives that person a password, that person types in their password for their phone and then any other phone that comes within six feet of that phone is on the app," Cuomo said.
Using both federal funding and support from the philanthropic organization of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the development of the new app cost approximately $700,000. The app is also available for Android phones.
The governor stressed that "the app is completely anonymous," and that no names, location data, or other personally-identifying information are involved.
"It uses Bluetooth technology to sense proximity to another phone with the same app, but not geographic location," said Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa.
Cuomo said the app will elevate contact tracing.
"I think it's going to not only bring contact tracing to a new level, but give people comfort," Cuomo said.