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Utah smartphone users now have access to COVID-19 exposure notifications

Posted at 5:31 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 10:06:59-05

SALT LAKE CITY — If you carry a smartphone, you could turn it into a COVID-19 contact tracing tool in Utah.

The contact tracing uses encrypted Bluetooth signals to track who you've been near for 15 minutes or longer. If one of those people reports a positive test, you would then get a message on your phone indicating the exposure.

For Apple iOS Users:
To enable the iPhone setting, go to Settings > Exposure Notifications and "Turn on Exposure Notifications."

For Android Users:
Android users can download the "UT Exposure Notifications" app on the Google Play Store.

Navina Forsythe, Utah's Director of Health Data and Informatics explained the privacy process.

"Exposure Notifications is a form of electronic contact tracing that uses encrypted or anonymous tokens exchanged through your phone and the phones of those around you to keep an encrypted log of who you’ve been in contact with. The service doesn’t track the location of the smartphone user and instead relies on anonymized interactions through Bluetooth technology.”

According to Forsythe, the notifications could reduce COVID-19 infections by 15 percent if that same percentage of the population were to use the technology.