Exposure Notifications

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Woman wearing mask in public on phone

Exposure Notifications are a new technology available on both iPhone and Android mobile devices that supplements the contact tracing that public health does. If you have enabled Exposure Notifications on your phone, whenever you are within six feet of someone for at least 10 minutes, both phones will exchange secure, anonymous tokens. If you test positive for COVID-19, you have the ability to upload your results and “share” these tokens, which will send a push notification to anyone that you have exchanged tokens with notifying them of possible exposure.

Tokens contain no personal information or location data and everything is completely anonymous.

Some people have COVID-19 but 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, it helps protect the entire community because 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. 

Exposure Notifications, like wearing masks and keeping our distance from others, is another way to keep ourselves and everyone in our communities safe from the spread of COVID-19.

Questions? Read our FAQ.

 

Fast Facts

  • iPhone and Android will soon have an Exposure Notification feature to alert you when you may have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • To participate in Exposure Notifications, update your operating system and enable "Exposure Notifications" on iPhone or install the ENexpress COVID-19 app on Android.
  • Exposure Notifications ensure privacy by operating through a secure token system. 

Frequently asked questions

Exposure Notifications is a voluntary new service available on both iPhone and Android phones that helps slow the spread of COVID-19. If you have enabled Exposure Notifications on your phone, whenever you are within close proximity (approximately 6 feet of someone for at least 10 minutes), your phones will exchange secure, anonymous tokens. If you test positive for COVID-19, you can share these anonymous tokens, which will send a push notification to anyone with whom you have exchanged tokens with recently, notifying them of possible exposure. The service is available nationwide, but will be customized for Colorado. This service does not collect any personally identifying information or share it with the State of Colorado, your Local Public Health Agency, Apple, or Google.

Exposure Notifications relies 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 chooses to enable the exposure notification service, the other individual will receive an alert that they have been exposed to COVID-19 and will be provided instructions on what to do.

This service can quickly alert people that they might have been exposed to COVID-19 in recent days and could need to get tested or quarantine. Exposure Notifications complement the current testing and case investigation process. It alerts individuals to a potential exposure to the virus, and provides guidance they might otherwise not have received. This is especially helpful in identifying asymptomatic cases. Asymptomatic individuals will be notified of exposure, get tested and quarantine, which will protect others from disease transmission.

People with iPhones will get a prompt to upgrade their operating system in the coming weeks. Once they perform that upgrade, they will get a prompt to enable Exposure Logging. People with Android phones will get a prompt in late September or early October and can follow a similar process.

Yes, Exposure Notifications is completely voluntary. iPhone and Android phone owners will get a notification on their phone asking them to opt-in to the exposure notification service. If they choose to use the service and subsequently test positive, they can then choose whether to share their exposure tokens, which will trigger notifications to other service users who have come in close contact with them.

Awareness and identification is key to stopping the spread of COVID-19. Coupled with robust testing to identify cases, exposure notification alert individuals who would otherwise be unaware they may have been exposed to the virus. This information allows individuals to take quick and appropriate measures to limit the spread like staying home and getting tested. In addition, they can monitor their symptoms and seek treatment if needed. When more people take these individual actions to limit the spread of COVID-19, it helps everyone stay healthy.

No. This service is based on exchanging anonymous information and is intended to help notify more people of their exposure quickly. Once they are notified, they can isolate and/or go get tested. The service does not use or store personally identifiable information.

This service is designed to protect your privacy to the fullest extent possible. It exchanges randomly generated anonymous “tokens” (like Y2RzQ0RT) that are not associated with your phone number, your name, your location, or your IP address. These anonymous tokens change every 15 minutes to protect your identity. It 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.

Yes, people visiting Colorado from other states including Alabama, Arizona, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Nevada, North Dakota, Virginia and Wyoming will all work together. 

If you go on a trip, you can continue using Colorado as your selected state for alerts. If you move out of Colorado for an extended period, you should review options in your new state to get local support. 

The service was designed to use bluetooth and data minimally. It should not have a noticeable impact on battery life or data usage.

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 tokens. which will then send a push notification to anyone you have exchanged tokens with, notifying them of possible exposure. Only randomly generated data that cannot be traced back to you is transferred from your phone.

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 you test positive for COVID-19, you can share these anonymous tokens, which will send a push notification to anyone with whom you have exchanged tokens with recently, notifying them of possible exposure. The system only sends tokens to participants the individual has come into contact with 14 days prior to the positive diagnosis. Once you test positive, you should stay home in isolation. 

Yes. Just as you have to opt-in to participate, you can opt-out at any time. 

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.

Exposure Notifications requires 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. Find more information on how to quarantine.

It depends on how many people you interact with closely, how many of them 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 not ever get a notification that you were exposed to a positive case.

We currently translate guidance and information about COVID-19 into 7 languages. We are working with Google and Apple to do the same for this service.

Yes, people using this service should still work with public health case investigators. Exposure Notifications service is designed to complement our current testing and case investigation process. Public health workers provide vital services to people in Colorado.

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.

Exposure Notifications do not record your location. It does use the Bluetooth feature of your phone to communicate with other phones that are nearby. By generating new random strings every 15 minutes the service helps protect your privacy as you move around the city.

While people are encouraged to isolate themselves if they are sick or have been exposed to someone who is sick, local public health agencies can obtain a court order mandating quarantine. Individuals who violate a court order could face fines. However, law enforcement will not be given access to information through this service, and even if they obtained it, they could not trace previous interactions. Furthermore, the service is designed in a decentralized way, so it does not have enough data to provide information on whether someone has broken quarantine. It does not use location data.

Yes, Exposure Notifications are a unique service that work alongside existing solutions available in Colorado.