The University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Alabama Department of Public Health on Monday launched a contact tracing app statewide.
It’s called GuideSafe, and it’s now available to the general public.
The app was previously available only to .edu email address holders during its pilot phase. Now, it’s available for free to anyone in the state via iPhone and Android devices.
The app was created in partnership with Google and Apple.
UAB said in a statement Monday morning that the app works as follows:
- Once the GuideSafe™ Exposure Notification App is downloaded to an iPhone or Android device, users will opt-in to the notification system through a few simple steps.
- The app never records location or identity or accesses your contact list. Instead, the app generates a random code for each user phone. This random code then changes every 10 to 20 minutes to preserve security.
- As users go about their day, all phones utilizing the GuideSafe™ Exposure Notification App that are in close contact – defined as within six feet for greater than 15 minutes – of others will exchange these random codes via low-energy Bluetooth.
- This exchange works even if the app is in the background so that users can continue to use their phones for other tasks.
- When a self-reported and lab-verified positive COVID-19 test occurs, ADPH enables notification of all phones through a random code matching process using the last 14 days of data.
- If there is a match, the GuideSafe™ app will notify a user and facilitate assistance from ADPH, as well point users toward other tools in the GuideSafe™ platform.
“Users will never know from whom the notification came or to whom the notification has been sent, nor the time or the location – only the date of the possible exposure. Ultimately, GuideSafe™ app notifications can arm users with information needed to quarantine or seek testing and treatment, all while protecting user privacy and empowering users to protect themselves, their families and their communities,” the statement goes on to say.