Health officials in North Dakota release contact tracing app for COVID-19

National News

(CNN) – Contact tracing helps identify people who might have been infected by a person who was recently diagnosed with a virus, like COVID-19.

Now there’s an app for that and the idea for it came from bison trackers.

In the past, contact tracing has been credited with slowing or stopping epidemics like Ebola and SARS.

Now, it’s a tool being used to help in the current pandemic while contact tracers use a variety of methods to track down those who may have come in contact with a person infected with COVID-19.

Health officials in North Dakota have partnered with the creator of an app used to track bison to launch a new app called Care19 and those who download the app will get a random ID number.

The North Dakota Coronavirus Response website said the app will anonymously catch each user’s locations throughout the day.

If they test positive for COVID-19, the state said users will be given the opportunity to consent to provide their information to health officials to help in contact tracing and forecasting the pandemic’s progression with accurate, real-time data.

Apple and Google are developing new contact tracing technology using smartphones and Bluetooth technology to alert those who may have been close to someone infected.

There are limitations to the new technology, users would have to opt-in and it’s not clear whether enough people will do so to make the effort worthwhile and people without smartphones wouldn’t get notified.

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