University encourages use of COVIDWISE app

September 7, 2020

University News

The Commonwealth of Virginia has developed a new tool to notify people if they are potentially a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19: COVIDWISE, Virginia’s COVID-19 exposure notification app.

Virginia is the first state in the U.S. to use the Apple and Google contact-tracing technology built into iPhones and Android phones.

“We are encouraging the campus community to download and use the COVIDWISE app to assist with contact tracing,” said Brittany Schaal, director of Emergency Management. “The COVIDWISE app is another tool within the campus community’s extensive mitigation strategies.”

Users opt-in to download and use the free app, which helps support contact tracing among students, faculty, and staff.

The app uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology to quickly notify users who have been within six feet of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes and, as a result, may have been exposed to COVID-19.

“As COVID-19 cases continue to be identified across the Commonwealth, it is important for people to know whether they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the disease,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver. “COVIDWISE will notify you if you’ve likely been exposed to another app user who anonymously shared a positive COVID-19 test result. Knowing your exposure history allows you to self-quarantine effectively, seek timely medical attention, and reduce potential exposure risk.”

If the app notifies a person that they may have been exposed, it will provide further instructions from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) on how to keep safe. VDH notes that the app does not track a person’s location and it does not store location data.

“Downloading the COVIDWISE app supports our shared responsibility to protect the web,” Schaal said.

Learn more about contact tracing on the University’s COVID-19 response website.