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COVID-19 contact tracing apps are on their way

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Apple and Google are teaming up to develop a new app to trace those who've come into contact with COVID-19 infected people. This comes as local health departments are exploring their options with various tracing app technologies.

Technology may be the new weapon to help fight against the coronavirus.

“The data already exists on the device, it's just a matter of creating another interface on an application that will utilize that data,” said Digital Forensic Examiner Matt Rivera.

Apple and Google are currently developing an app that would trace those who have come into contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

“I would personally want to sign up for it because I would want to know if I have been around someone whose positive. It's for my own safety too,” said cyber professional Nimit Maru.

If a user reports a positive COVID-19 diagnosis to their app, the public health department would be notified and the app would alert other users who had come into contact with them.

“When you open up an application to your device, your opening up that private company or government into your world,” said Rivera.

“We don't want to lose sight of our privacy needs,” said Maru.

Other tech companies are exploring similar ways to develop a new app that won't allow the government to have control of the data sharing.

“Society is hesitant to accept the notion for the greater good,” said Rivera.

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department currently uses interview systems relying on the positive COVID-19 patient's memory to contact trace.

“Transparency and an understanding of how the application works will be key,” said Rivera.

SLO Public Health Department released a statement to NewsChannel saying: “We currently use County and State agencies' contact tracing tools … We would be very happy to have an app that would help us better conduct our contact tracing efforts.”

The health department says its current traditional contact tracing methods have proven effective, helping lead to a 70% recovery rate in COVID-19 patients.

Article Topic Follows: Health
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Naja Hill

Naja Hill is a reporter for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Naja, click here.

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