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UArizona team testing app that will notify those exposed to COVID-19

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Posted at 7:31 PM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-03 10:09:35-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - A team at the University of Arizona is testing an app meant to notify faculty, staff and students when they've been exposed to COVID-19.

The app is called COVID Watch, and was developed in the spring.

Joyce Shroeder, a member of the team testing the COVID Watch app, told KGUN9 the university is testing this app to make it a part of its re-entry plan once students return to campus.

Shroeder said the information put into the app will be completely anonymous.

“It collects zero, zero, there Is no collection of personal information on the app," she said.

Here's how it'll work. When someone tests positive for COVID-19, they can input that result into the app, which will then send an alert to those who've interacted with that person.

“So you have to have been around that person for a minimum of 15 minutes, within a 14 day period to get that signature," said Shroeder.

Those who have the app downloaded and were near the person with COVID-19 will receive the alert letting them know they've been exposed.

After that, they'll be given information on where they can get tested, and how they should go about self-isolating.

Shroeder added that in order for the app to be successful on the University of Arizona campus, a large part of the community has to download it and input their test results if they test positive.

“One of the pieces that has to happen is a positive test result has to be activated by the owner of the phone, it has to be put into the app, but to receive that positive test result it has to come from an official source like the state department of health," she said.

She added the university will not require faculty, staff or students to download the app in order to return to campus.

“Not only is it optional whether they download the app, but at every step there are opt-ins," she said.

Shroeder said the team hopes to be in the pilot testing phase by the end of July.