Governor Jay Inslee discussed the launch of the new WA Notify smartphone app Monday, calling it an elegant tool in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. The voluntary app saw 200,000 users sign up in just its first few hours.

The app is the product of a joint effort between Google and Apple, and it uses a bluetooth signal emitted by smartphones to detect and remember interactions. Inlsee stated that the app does not store or share any personal information, track your location, track which WA Notify users were notified, or provide any personal information to developers or the Department of Health.

If a user tests positive for COVID-19, they can receive a code from a healthcare worker and enter it into the app. WA Notify will then notify other users who were within six feet of the infected user for at least 15 minutes during their period of contagiousness. Currently, the app assumes anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is self-quarantining after getting their results. Therefore, WA Notify will not send notifications to other users for any period after the code has been entered, unless the infected user requests an additional code.

Inslee said the app is a great compliment to contact tracing and data suggested it could reduce infections by 11% and deaths by 15%.

WA Notify is currently available in 29 languages.

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