A half-million Coloradans have already signed up for the state’s new coronavirus-tracking notification tool | CraigDailyPress.com

A half-million Coloradans have already signed up for the state’s new coronavirus-tracking notification tool

The app, called Exposure Notifications, works only on smartphones, leaving out at least 19% of the state

John Ingold / Colorado Sun
Health workers collect patient information from people waiting to be tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, outside the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s lab in Denver’s Lowry neighborhood. Photographed on March 11, 2020.
John Ingold / Colorado Sun

More than 500,000 Coloradans have already signed up for the state’s new tool to notify people if they have possibly been exposed to the coronavirus.

The tool, called Exposure Notifications, runs in the background on smartphones to exchange non-personally identifying information with other phones it comes near that also are running the app. If a person later tests positive for coronavirus, they will have the option of sending a notification to all the people who also use the app that the person had potentially exposed.

Coloradans began receiving alerts on their phones on Sunday that the app is either available to download or turn on. By Wednesday night, 587,615 people had done so. That represents about 10% of Colorado’s population, said Sarah Tuneberg, the state COVID-19 adviser who has helped develop the state’s version of the app in conjunction with tech companies Apple and Google.

“That’s a huge win for Colorado already and everybody who did it,” she said during a Thursday call with reporters.

Colorado officials hope the app will greatly improve their contact-tracing efforts, during a time when state and local health authorities are struggling to contain a surging number of COVID-19 cases.

On Thursday, Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar imposed a 10 p.m. curfew on the city for two weeks in an effort to slow the virus. The move came one day after state officials announced that they were moving multiple counties, including Denver, Adams and Arapahoe, to more restrictive levels on the state’s COVID-19 “dial.” The more restrictive statuses come with decreased capacity for businesses and other venues.

Gradisar said he imposed the curfew to try to keep Pueblo from also moving to a more restrictive status for businesses — or even being hit with a new stay-at-home order.

“I’m not asking you to do this for me,” he said in a statement to his city. “I’m asking you to do this for our businesses and schools.”

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.

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