Use Your Smartphone to Help Fight COVID-19 – CU Denver News

Calling all Apple and Android smartphone owners—you now have access to a key tool in the fight against COVID-19. As part of Colorado’s efforts to increase testing and contact tracing, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has launched Colorado Exposure Notifications, a simple, Bluetooth-enabled service that notifies smartphone owners of possible exposure to COVID-19. 

So, how does it work, and is it safe? To help answer these questions, CU Denver News asked David Lowry, interim chief information officer and director of Planning, Strategy, and Analysis in the Office of Information Technology (OIT), for some insight on the new technology. 

How does the Colorado Exposure Notifications system operate?

Developed in a joint effort by Google and Apple, this application is a free and voluntary service that focuses on notifying users of possible COVID-19 exposure. Upon enabling on your Android or iPhone smartphone/device, this application generates a random ID for you, which changes automatically every 10 – 20 minutes, and uses your phone’s Bluetooth capability to exchange these random IDs with others you come in close proximity to. Your phone will periodically check IDs matched with positive COVID-19 cases against its own list.   

If there is a match between your phone and the positivity list, you will receive a notification from within our Colorado health authority with instructions and next steps. If you test positive, you can easily and anonymously notify others to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The Exposure Notifications System contains no personal information or location data, and everything is completely anonymous.

Why should CU Denver community members opt into Colorado Exposure Notifications?

As a foundation to a thriving educational and research community, CU Denver members can positively support heightened sensitivity and awareness of exposure notifications, and help drive down the infection rate of the virus across all areas of our lives.

How will Colorado Exposure Notifications benefit the greater community? 

By increasing the number of participants, we can directly reduce the spread of COVID-19 through more awareness, timely notifications of potential exposures, and anonymous notification of individuals who are impacted but are “unknown” (i.e. exposure during a grocery shopping trip).

How does Colorado Exposure Notifications show the advancement and benefits of technology?

This is an exciting partnership between two global technology companies to further connect participants in an effort to fight the spread of COVID-19 through timely notifications and informed decision-making, while also protecting the security and privacy of participants.