California Announces Two Pilot Projects Using Google and Apple COVID-19 Exposure Notification Technology

Sacramento, CA–Adding to the state’s tools that could help stop the spread of COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the California Department of Technology (CDT) today announced a partnership with the University of California San Diego and University of California San Francisco to launch two pilot projects to test the Exposure Notification Express mobile application recently released by Google and Apple.

The app is designed to stop the spread of COVID-19 by confidentially notifying individuals who may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus. Under the pilot projects, students, faculty and staff at the two universities will have an opportunity to use the app to help curb the transmission of COVID-19. Importantly, privacy and security are central to the design of the technology, which does not collect location data from any device and never shares user identities.

The exposure notification app uses Bluetooth technology to notify individuals who have been in close proximity of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. When the app is voluntarily activated by users, Bluetooth detects when two mobile devices are in the same vicinity – without revealing a user’s identity or location. App users who test positive for the virus can anonymously share that information to benefit public health. The app does not collect, store or transmit any personally identifiable user information.

Individuals who receive an exposure notification via the app will be provided instructions for next steps which may include monitoring symptoms, self-isolation, getting tested, or contacting their public health department.  Use of the app may allow those who were exposed to be alerted more quickly, as well as being able to alert strangers who may not be identified using traditional contact tracing methods.