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This new app tells people if they’ve been exposed to the coronavirus

Philadelphia adds new app that tells residents if they’ve been exposed to the coronavirus.

In this May 29, 2020, file photo, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf meets with the media at The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa.
In this May 29, 2020, file photo, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf meets with the media at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa.
Associated Press

Pennsylvania residents will soon have access to a new app that will allow them to see if they’ve been exposed to the novel coronavirus.

What’s going on?

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Rachel Levine announced Wednesday that the new app — called COVID Alert PA — will use Bluetooth technology to tell someone if they’ve been in contact with someone who was infected with the coronavirus, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

  • The app will tell someone if they’re within 6 feet of someone infected with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or so.
  • The Bluetooth will announce the proximity, not the specific location of the users.
  • The app needs to be downloaded onto your phone.
  • Those with the app will be told they’re near someone. They will be given the option to talk with someone in the public health department.

Utah has a similar app in development

Prominent Utah businessman Khosrow Semnani and his son, Taymour Semnani, CEO of the tech firm Ferry, are working together to develop an app — called Distancing — that would offer Bluetooth alerts for users who came within 6 feet of each other, as Deseret.com. reported.

  • The device “ could also be used to help health officials track individual infections of COVID-19, if enough people used the app,” according to Deseret.com.
  • “This is an extremely unique and useful product that I have asked my son to provide countrywide to essential public service employees free of charge as a donation,” Khosrow Semnani wrote to Justin Harding, Gov. Gary Herbert’s chief of staff, in an April 6 email asking for a meeting with Kristen Cox, executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Management and Budget and state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn.