Alabama Moving to Covid Contact Tracing

Contact tracing of individuals in Alabama infected with SARS-CoV-2 is coming soon, by way of a smart phone application now being developed by the Alabama Department of Public Safety in partnership with the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“The Alabama Department of Public Health continues to work with UAB and the University of Alabama concerning the Google/Apple app for proximity tracking,” says Dr. Karen Landers, with the ADPH. “The app reports via notifications to a smart phone, through the private interface, when a person has been exposed to another person who has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The person testing positive must have the app and persons in close contact must also have the app.”

Work on the app was first reported two weeks ago by Reuters, which noted that “a dozen U.S. universities are developing mobile apps that aim to curb new infections of the novel coronavirus, but Alabama is one of the first U.S. school systems to move forward on deploying such an app.”

“University of Alabama will require students and staff returning to its three campuses in the coming months to submit online health checks regularly and encourage them to download its contact tracing app,” officials told Reuters.

“All information is anonymous and only gives dates of potential exposure,” Landers told Business Alabama on June 1. “The app is partnered with Google and Apple to create the highest level of privacy and protection. The most significant utilization initially will be within the college student population, which will likely be used by UAB students this fall, and may expand to other students as well. Further, the app may become useful in a wider group of people in the future as ADPH gathers more information.”

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