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Thursday, October 21, 2021

California Launches Smartphone App to Trace COVID Positive Cases

Oakland, California, December 8: California, on Monday released a voluntary smartphone CA Notify app that will anonymously alert people if they happen to be in close vicinity of a COVID positive individual as cases and hospitalizations continue to surge throughout the state. Gavin Newsom, California governor on Monday announced the same at a press conference. 

The Dawn of CA Notify App

The app named CA Notify will be available to the public from Thursday onwards where they will be able to download the app and use it accordingly. The tech tool is so designed that it will perform its function without tracking people’s identities. It will utilize Bluetooth wireless signals when two mobile phones or devices are located within six feet of each other or 15 minutes away from one another. Considering the availability, there are CA Notify app Android and IOS COVID exposure app. The respective gadgets will capture and store that information. In case someone tests positive for the deadly virus, the affected person can log into the app and confirm it while the COVID 19 notification app in turn will send notifications to each and every individual that the patient came in contact with over the previous two weeks. 

During the press meet, Newsom stated that the more the number of individuals register and start using it, the more helpful the app will turn out to be. He also mentioned that the authorities are indeed positive about the app’s outcome. 

What it’s all about?

The smart technology, virus tracking app comes into effect at a time when coronavirus cases are rising within California at an alarming rate and residents have been ordered to leave their homes only when it’s an absolute necessity otherwise no. This restriction has to be followed at least for the next three weeks. On the other hand, 16 other US states including Washington DC and Guam have already activated the availability of this system co-developed by the tech giants Google and Apple. However, the userbase for the same is yet to expand as much as expected. 

Enquiring about why the app is not seeing many users, a public health professor at the University of California, Irvine said that chances are that not many residents will opt for the COVID notification app on grounds of privacy concerns and also debating the value of the tool. He said that people might feel overwhelmed by a flood of information about the deadly virus, which might have a countereffect on peoples’ minds. Instead of alerting them, too many positive cases might instill a sense of fear. Because, if they take a COVID test after an alert and wind up negative, only to receive another positive alert within a few hours! Such a pattern can be mentally traumatizing. 

Over the past 15 days, COVID positive cases have risen exponentially within the state of California, registering a staggering number on a weekly basis, almost at 22,000 – a 50 percent increase within a span of just two weeks, according to state data. 

New Rules?

Authorities have introduced new rules to tackle the virus’s random spread. Under the new stay-at-home rule, counties within California have been segmented into five regions based on their intensive care unit capabilities. Areas with less than 15 percent capacity will have to implement new orders strictly within 24 hours. 

While the coronavirus tracker app is an extra effort in terms of curbing the further spreading of the virus, authorities have requested additional medical staff who will be arriving by December 14 in order to assist. 

The recent rise in COVID positive cases surged in October and the reason for the same is being attributed to people ignoring social distancing measures and indulging in festivities especially during Halloween and Thanksgiving. Thus, the emergence of the CA Notify app is truly a blessing to mankind.

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Kiara Dawson
Kiara Dawson comes from an Engineering background, with a specialization in Information Technology. She has a keen interest and expertise in Web Development, Data Analytics, and Research. She trusts in the process of growth through knowledge and hard work.

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