Virginia launches first COVID-19 exposure notification app in US using Google-Apple API

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2020
On Wednesday, the Virginia Department of Health released its official COVID-19 exposure notification app, and it is the first in the United States to use the Google and Apple API.

COVIDWISE app by the Virginia Department of Health
COVIDWISE app by the Virginia Department of Health


Apple and Google engineersteamed up to create a cross-platform API for tracing the spread of coronavirus. The API was officially released in May 2020 and has seen little adoption since.

Canada was one of the first countries with such an app, releasing it at the end of July. The app relied upon Canada's health system to inform the app of a diagnosis.

The Virginia app is called COVIDWISE and works similarly. When you have been diagnosed by a doctor, you must complete a questionnaire in the app to alert other users of the diagnosis. When logging this data, it is only to verify a positive result, and does not expose your personal information to others.

COVIDWISE is very barebones by design
COVIDWISE is very barebones by design


When the app is enabled, it will run in the background with no interaction from the user. If the phone determines that you have been close to another individual using the app for an extended period of time, it will store those credentials shared by the other phone.

The system uses bluetooth to exchange tokens and will not have noticeable effects on battery life.

The iOS 14 beta 4 has a dedicated settings section for exposure notification, but it is still not reliable. For the COVIDWISE app to work properly, ensure you are running iOS 13.6.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    Our medical practice will recommend today that a couple of large local CALIFORNIA  employers have staff install this Virginia app ASAP.
    Best parts:
    1.  It works in any location.  
    2.  The API shares reported notifications “across countries” as a result of EU feedback.  Here in the USA that implies (not guarantees) cross-state functionality when/if other states catch up.

    Note the “works in any location” part of this design.  All you need is a meaningful pool of users such as:
    1,500 employees at California company A
    or 
    14,000 employees on the campus of California company B
    edited August 2020 tenthousandthingsRayz2016jony0caladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 9
    For people in California, I wonder what the validity of using this app from Virginia is going to be. If you read the README file on the iOS App Store, it says when your test results come back as positive and are sent to the Virginia Department of Health, they will provide you with a PIN to use when you report your results in this app. Without the PIN, you can’t report a positive result in the app, so what’s the point? The PIN is used to reduce the number of false notifications that are sent out from the app.

    We’re all anxious to get an app for contact tracing, but if we’re going through the trouble of installing and configuring an app on thousands of phones, let’s make sure it will work. If you get people to install this one, are they going to switch over to a new app that works once it is released. These people will feel they are covered and ignore any more “install this tracing app” messages from their corporate IT or HR groups.
    chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 9
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,480member
    The conspiracy theory crowd has been feverishly working to paint contact tracing as some fiendish government control project. There are posts on the Apple Discussion Forums from individuals who are outraged that the API even exists on their iOS device. They demand it be removed. When told the API does nothing until an app is installed that uses it, they become even more enraged. I can’t wait for the twaddle that will be spread around when a vaccine is approved. Want to know why the virus is spreading in the U.S.? Look no further than the kooky conspiracy boneheads. And by the way, George Bush ordered the New Orleans levies blown up just so Katrina could take out the black population. That one is still around as well as Building 7 and the faked Moon landing.
    edited August 2020 larryjwjony0caladanianbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 9
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,532member
    What a clusterf***. My idea was that ONE app would be used globally. They're separated by states? Are all states mandated to have one? What if I travel?

    Thanks Google!

    lkrupp said:
    The conspiracy theory crowd has been feverishly working to paint contact tracing as some fiendish government control project. There are posts on the Apple Discussion Forums from individuals who are outraged that the API even exists on their iOS device. They demand it be removed. When told the API does nothing until an app is installed that uses it, they become even more enraged. I can’t wait for the twaddle that will be spread around when a vaccine is approved. Want to know why the virus is spreading in the U.S.? Look no further than the kooky conspiracy boneheads. And by the way, George Bush ordered the New Orleans levies blown up just so Katrina could take out the black population. That one is still around as well as Building 7 and the faked Moon landing.

    The only thing that's real is Google using this opportunistically.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    Beats said:
    What a clusterf***. My idea was that ONE app would be used globally. They're separated by states? Are all states mandated to have one? What if I travel?

    Thanks Google!

    lkrupp said:
    The conspiracy theory crowd has been feverishly working to paint contact tracing as some fiendish government control project. There are posts on the Apple Discussion Forums from individuals who are outraged that the API even exists on their iOS device. They demand it be removed. When told the API does nothing until an app is installed that uses it, they become even more enraged. I can’t wait for the twaddle that will be spread around when a vaccine is approved. Want to know why the virus is spreading in the U.S.? Look no further than the kooky conspiracy boneheads. And by the way, George Bush ordered the New Orleans levies blown up just so Katrina could take out the black population. That one is still around as well as Building 7 and the faked Moon landing.

    The only thing that's real is Google using this opportunistically.
    ONE app globally? Really? Have we achieved world peace?

    They can’t agree at city or county level imagine GLOBALLY...

    The states are not required to have one they can keep ignoring the API like they have been doing. 

    What if you travel? Good luck! 

    The issue is that the apps using the API need an agency or medical facility to control the data and give out these pins to finally add the positive result to the app. If they weren’t in charged and the iOS or android user have the ability to tell the app I tested positive for covid imagine how many a** holes would be reporting positive results just for “fun” making the API useless. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 9
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,396member
    Apple_Bar said:
    If they weren’t in charged and the iOS or android user have the ability to tell the app I tested positive for covid imagine how many a** holes would be reporting positive results just for “fun” making the API useless. 
    That’s why reporting only works when you put in a special key you get from legit health authorities. I would imagine that over time, states and health depts will collaborate so that if you get diagnosed in a particular state due to traveling (WHY ARE YOU TRAVELING? Did you know there’s a plague on?) — the key used to report it can also be given to the home-state authority. As mentioned, this should be happening a LOT less than local/state reporting because people really should not be getting on airplanes/trains/busses and going to other states anytime soon unless it is absolutely mandatory to do so.

    I agree with your overall point that there really should be one app for the whole of the US, with the keys generated by the CDC in coordination with other health authorities, but ... that would require a functional federal government that enforces anti-COVID measures, vigorously fights misinformation, and coordinates a national strategy to fight this pandemic. The current US authorities that you would expect to handle this are not only being overruled by know-nothing crony appointees, but this administration and parts of Congress are actively undermining states and entities that are trying to take this threat seriously.
    jony0caladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 9
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,720member
    Well, I guess they've got something for the next time a pandemic rolls around.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 9
    Arrrgh.  @heavypound is correct.   I appolgize and retract my early morning statement that we would try this in California for employee clusters -- self-reporting is not supported.  This app requires a six digit pin from VPH (virgina public health) upon confirmation of a positive test result.  

    1.  That is what I get for reading fast before dawn, before coffee and not attempting to submit a "positive" as a test.  

    2.  THE GOOD:  news coverage says that interoperability between countries (which also implies US states) is now automatically built into the API after feedback from EU countries.

    3.  THE BAD:  we are doing things state-by-state.
    caladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 9
    State by state, country by country - progress can be really slow. 
    watto_cobra
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