California, Washington and Oregon to collaborate on Google, Apple COVID-19 exposure notification system 

Oregon and Washington are joining California’s pilot project of Google and Apple’s jointly developed COVID-19 exposure notification system, according to a Sept. 16 news release. 

The two states will participate with California in testing the COVID-19 exposure notification mobile app, which aims to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by confidentially notifying individuals who may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus. The app tracks Bluetooth signals from users’ phones to monitor device proximity without gathering location or identity data of the users. 

The California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Technology earlier this month partnered with the University of California San Diego and University of California San Francisco to launch the two pilot projects. The programs will be opt-in for students and employees on the campuses of the two universities, and if the project produces successful results, California will expand the system statewide. 

“Exposure notification technology has tremendous potential to slow the spread of COVID-19 within our communities and our region,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in the news release. “With the participation of the Western States Pact in this important endeavor, our public health officials and academic and technology partners can share experiences and lessons as they develop the Exposure Notification Express app.” 

In addition to California, Oregon and Washington, Colorado and Nevada also serve as members of the Western States Pact, which was formed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to collaborate on stay-at-home orders and other initiatives. Colorado and Nevada have already launched their own COVID-19 contact tracing technology pilots. 

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