Michigan Launches COVID-19 Exposure App After MSU Pilot

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services kicked off a statewide launch of the MI COVID Alert exposure notification app the week of Nov. 9 after a successful pilot at East Lansing’s Michigan State University.
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MI COVID Alert exposure notification app
MDHHS has launched the MI COVID Alert exposure notification app, which tells users whether they have been around someone who also has the app and has tested positive for COVID-19. // Image courtesy of the state of Michigan

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services kicked off a statewide launch of the MI COVID Alert exposure notification app the week of Nov. 9 after a successful pilot at East Lansing’s Michigan State University.

The launch originally was scheduled for this week and was accelerated due to the pilot. Other states that have launched exposure notification apps include Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

The app uses Bluetooth low-energy technology to detect the nearby phones of other app users and can notify individuals when they may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus.

Michigan public health officials approached MSU in September about launching the app on campus and across Ingham County. Health officials asked MSU to conduct research and develop a communication plan that would encourage people to download the app.

The app became available on the campus on Oct. 15 on IOS and Android devices.

By Oct. 18, the app had been downloaded nearly 10,000 times and had surpassed 30,000 within two weeks of the launch, exceeding the university’s goal of 20,000 downloads by students, faculty, and staff and an additional 8,000 downloads across the greater Ingham County.

By the time the statewide launch kicked off, more than 46,000 people on campus and in the area had downloaded the app.

“The positive response demonstrates the commitment of the Spartan community to be part of the solution,” says Shawn Turner, professor in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, who is leading the app pilot project for MSU. “Spartans want to do their part to slow the spread of this virus and they want to protect the people they care about. Downloading the app helps them do that.”

The pilot will continue to run through the end of the year.

“We are not done,” Turner says. “We’re going to work with businesses in East Lansing and throughout Ingham County to keep encouraging more people to download the app. The more people who download the app, the safer we will all be.”

For more information on the app or to download it, click here.

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