State unveils new COVID-19 app as virus data ticks up | Delaware First Media
Delaware Public Media

State unveils new COVID-19 app as virus data ticks up

Sep 15, 2020

The state is leveraging technology to encourage social distancing.

The COVID Alert DE app is free to download and available to anyone 18 or older with Apple or Android phones who lives, works or attends college in Delaware.

It uses Bluetooth technology to alert a user if they’ve come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID and is also using the app.

Delaware Secretary of Health and Social Services Molly Magarik says the app is anonymous and user data is protected.

“The COVID Alert DE will protect your privacy by not collecting or sharing any personal information such as name, address or age that can identify you,” said Magarik. “Again, we are not using GPS navigation, geocoding or any other location services as part of this app.”   

Those who test positive for COVID in the state will be encouraged by Delaware contact tracers to download the app and put in a six-digit code to register as COVID-positive.

Those with the app who come within six feet of a COVID-positive user for more than 15 minutes will receive an exposure notification alert. 

COVID Alert DE was created with help from the software developer NearForm, and will work across state lines in states with similar COVID apps. 

This comes as Delaware’s COVID-19 case data is trending up slightly.

The average percentage of people testing positive is now above seven percent after hovering below five percent for most of the summer. The average number of new positive cases is above 100 and 61 people statewide are hospitalized - 20 of whom are critically ill.

Gov. John Carney blames social gatherings at colleges and universities in the state for the uptick. 

“If you think about it, being complacent about following those restrictions in Newark and Dover and other places means that it’s going to take us longer to get their younger brothers and sisters back in classrooms in front of teachers, because our numbers are going to go up, as they are, gradually. Our percent positives are going to go up,” said Carney.   

Carney says if the percentage of people testing positive dips back below 5.9% and the average number of daily cases is below 66.2 more schools can go back to in person instruction.  He maintains that getting below a 3 percent positive test rate is needed to fully reopen schools.

With the recent uptick in COVID metrics Delaware is back on travel advisory lists in neighboring states. It has been on and off those lists for months.