Coronavirus contact tracing app is now live in Wisconsin

WI Exposure Notification, a new mobile app to assist in notifying contacts of people who’ve tested positive for COVID-19, is now live — putting the power to slow the spread, quite literally, in your hands.

Officials say the voluntary app complements the state’s and partner agencies’ efforts in contact tracing by letting Wisconsinites know faster if they’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, allowing them to take steps to keep themselves and those around them safe.

“The more people who use the app, the more effective it will be,” said Gov. Tony Evers.

A news release said iPhone and Android users will receive notifications on their phones in the coming days providing instructions for downloading or enabling the app. The Department of Health Services (DHS) encourages Wisconsinites to follow the instructions to ensure the app is properly installed on their phones. The notifications will be sent from Google to Android users and from Apple to iPhone users.

How the app works

The WI Exposure Notification app does not use, collect, or store any GPS data or personal details. Instead, it uses Bluetooth technology to anonymously share Bluetooth signals with other smartphones using the app nearby.

All people in Wisconsin who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a code that users enter into the app. By entering the code, the person who tests positive anonymously notifies devices their phone has shared Bluetooth signals with during the period of time they may have been contagious.

“It doesn’t replace contact tracing or the work of local public health as it relates to disease investigation,” said Andrea Palm, DHS secretary-designee. “It does allow us all to get a general jump on what to do next.”

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IMPORTANT: For the app to work properly, Bluetooth must be enabled on the device, and the WI Exposure Notification app must be downloaded and/or enabled before you receive a positive test result.

WI Exposure Notification does not gather:

  • Your name
  • Your contact information
  • Your location or movements
  • The identity of the people you meet