State Health Department shuts down its COVID Alert PA app

The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) announced that as of July 27, the COVID PA Alert application will no longer be used.

The app, designed by Irish software development company Near Form, has been used to track the spread of COVID in Pennsylvania, with sister apps in other states. It was released in September 2020 and provided information on COVID vaccines, exposure alerts, and symptom tracking.

COVID Alert PA worked by using your phone’s Bluetooth to see if people near you are also using it. Then, if a user tests positive, they have the option to share their test result and the app sends exposure alerts to anyone who has been near the infected person’s device for 15 minutes. or more. The app used anonymous data to protect people’s identities.

When first released, the app was widely downloaded by Pennsylvanians: 50,000 people connected within the first 24 hours.

According Maggi Barton, deputy DOH press secretary, the app was an additional resource when COVID cases were on the rise. Since then, DOH has continued to adapt and create long-term online resources for the COVID-19 response.

“As we move forward in this phase of the response, the COVID Alert PA app is no longer critical regardless of the current volume of COVID-19 cases,” Barton said. Technically. “The department will continue to remain vigilant and monitor cases of COVID-19. Case investigation and contact tracing efforts continue with our trained public health professionals, as they have throughout the pandemic – without any additional help from the app.

In addition to the state’s usual process for case investigations and contact tracing, 4,853 users confirmed their positive test result through the app, Barton said, triggering 2,845 exposure alerts. to people who downloaded the app and were potentially exposed to an infected person.

“The app does not collect or request any personally identifiable or personal health information,” she said.

Those who have used the app can access similar resources through the following sites:

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