LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — California health officials have urged residents to sign up for the California Notify mobile app to help track coronavirus cases, but most of the state population has yet to register.
According to the California Health Department, about eight million people in the state have signed up out of the population of roughly 40 million people.
The app, which launched on Dec. 10, lets residents know if they’ve been within six feet of a person who has tested positive for coronavirus with 15 or more minutes of contact.
“It’s just notification in terms of using technology as an additional tool to notify you if you’ve been proximate to someone whose contracted COVID-19,” Governor Gavin Newsom said. “Roughly 20% of the state has already adopted it utilized it, downloaded it.”
Officials say the more people that use the service, the better chance there is to slowing the spread of coronavirus.
Information in the app remains anonymous, officials said, and unlike contract tracing, it can communicate between strangers who may have exposed one another.
The State Department of Health says the app doesn’t gather data like name, contact information, location or movements, or the identity of the people with whom residents have been in contact.
Instead, it uses Bluetooth technology to exchange randomly generated keys to other CA Notify users nearby.
To activate it on an iPhone, users must go into their Settings, scroll down to Exposure Notifications, turn on exposure notifications and select “United States>California.”
Android users can download it through Google Play.