Being informed of a potential COVID-19 exposure allows you to quarantine immediately, get tested, and reduce the risk of passing COVID-19 to your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and community.
Exposure Notifications is a free and voluntary service developed in partnership with Google and Apple that notifies users of possible exposure to COVID-19. After opting in, your Android or iPhone device will share anonymous tokens/codes with other Exposure Notifications users using your phone’s Bluetooth. If another user within six feet for 15 minutes or longer tests positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day period, the service will notify you of the potential exposure. Likewise, if you test positive, you can easily and anonymously notify others to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Exposure Notifications rely on people opting in to the service. When two people have activated Exposure Notifications on their smartphones and come in close proximity to one another, they exchange anonymized “tokens” that log that close interaction for 14 days. If one of those two people tests positive for COVID-19 after that encounter and has enabled the exposure notification service, the other individual will receive an alert that they have been exposed to COVID-19. They will be directed to self-quarantine immediately and will be referred to COVID-19 resources.
How will this help Nevada slow the spread of COVID-19?
Awareness and identification are key to stopping the spread of COVID-19. Exposure Notifications complement the current testing and case investigation process by alerting individuals of possible exposure to the virus. This is especially helpful for people who are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t have any symptoms but can still spread the virus. When many people have enabled Exposure Notifications on their phones, people who are asymptomatic will know they should get tested, learn they are positive for COVID-19, and quarantine until they are no longer infectious.
Is Google, Apple, or the State collecting personal information?
No. This service does not use or store personally identifiable information and is designed to protect your privacy. The technology does not record your location or use your GPS. It uses the Bluetooth feature of your phone to exchange randomly generated anonymous “tokens” (example token:Y2RzQ0RT) that are not associated with your phone number, your name, your location, or your IPaddress. These anonymous tokens change every 15 minutes to protect your identity. The system uses a secure, decentralized design to determine if you have been in contact with a positive case and it is not tracked on any servers. After 14 days, or once an alert is triggered, the “tokens” are permanently erased. The code for the service is open source, so people can verify that it does not capture any personally identifying information.
If I test positive will my identity be shared with anyone via Exposure Notifications?
No. Your positive test result will only result in Exposure Notifications if you opt-in and upload your result to the system. Even then, your personal information is not collected, stored or shared by the exposure notification system. If you test positive for COVID-19, you have the ability to share the anonymous tokens your phone has transmitted. Anyone you have exchanged tokens with in the last 14 days will receive a push notification alerting them to a possible exposure—but the alert will not tell them where they were exposed or who exposed them.
How quickly will I be notified if I have been exposed?
You will be notified once the COVID positive individual authorizes Exposure Notifications to send out an alert. You can be notified of any exposure that happened within the last 14 days. How quickly after you are exposed will also vary depending on when that person received a positive result and how quickly the information was uploaded.
If I leave Nevada do Exposure Notifications still work?
If someone leaves Nevada or even if they visit Nevada, Exposure Notifications should work across state lines. Self-Reported results should also work in other states, as long as the other state has not set their risk score to zero for self-reported positive results. We also want to know in Nevada, if someone positive visits our state.
Will Exposure Notifications affect battery life or data plan?
The service was designed to use Bluetooth and data minimally. It should not have a noticeable impact on battery life or data usage.
Can I temporarily disable the service?
Yes. Just as you have to opt-in to participate, you can opt-out at any time.
Can someone report a false positive to confuse this system?
No. The system is designed so that a person can only upload their positive result if it is coming from qualified testing sites and labs and verified by a public health authority
I know someone who got a positive test result so why didn’t I get a notification on my phone?
Exposure Notifications require several conditions to be met in order to send you a notification. Both people must have the software installed with Bluetooth enabled at the time of their close interaction. The person with a positive diagnosis must upload their tokens. Both people have to spend enough time at a close distance for there to be a likely exposure. If one of those conditions did not occur, then you won’t get a notification. If you know that you were exposed to COVID-19 and you didn’t get a notification from your phone, you should still quarantine and monitor your symptoms.
How many notifications will I get?
It depends on how many people you interact with for specific amounts of time and specific proximities as set by state epidemiologists and informed by CDC guidelines. The number of notifications will also depend on how many individuals use Exposure Notifications on their phones, and how many of them have a positive diagnosis. You can expect to get a weekly notification from the service confirming it is still running on your phone. You may never receive a notification that you were exposed to a positive case.
How does the service know if I have COVID-19?
Your positive test result will only result in Exposure Notifications if you opt-in and upload your result to the system. Even then, your personal information is not collected, stored or shared by the exposure notification system.