COVIDWISE is the official COVID-19 exposure notification app for the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Health (VDH). The app was developed in partnership with SpringML using a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) API framework created through a unique collaboration between Apple and Google.
Your personal use of COVIDWISE will significantly help inform Virginians suspected of having been within close proximity to someone with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. When you download COVIDWISE, you are doing your part to efficiently and effectively help your community stay ahead of any potential resurgent trends in cases. This is vitally important as the business sector, healthcare industry, K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, religious organizations, sporting/recreation activities, and others rely on appropriate interventions to ensure the health of our communities and maintain economic viability.
How COVIDWISE Works: If someone reports to the app that they tested positive, the signals from their app will search for other app users who shared that signal. The BLE signals are date-stamped and the app estimates how close the two devices were based on signal strength. If the timeframe was at least 15 minutes and the estimated distance was within six feet, then the other user receives a notification of a possible exposure. No names! No location!
The BLE framework within COVIDWISE will run in the background, even if the exposure notification app is closed. It will not drain the device battery at a rate that would occur with other apps that use normal Bluetooth and/or are open and running constantly.
How COVIDWISE Protects Your Privacy: VDH takes your privacy and confidentiality very seriously. This is why we chose to use the Apple and Google BLE framework. No personal data or location tracking occurs within this app. In fact, there is no need for VDH to know where or who you are for COVIDWISE to work. If you are close enough to another app user, the BLE technology will share signals with that user.
Laboratory results for all persons who test positive for COVID-19 are sent to VDH. This is not associated with the app. Our staff follows up with persons reported as positive, based on information provided within the laboratory report. As a courtesy to all app users, VDH will verify positive tests and then provide COVIDWISE users a personal identifying number (PIN). You must use that PIN in order to report a positive result to the app. This prevents people from falsely reporting positive results, which could generate false exposure notifications. VDH wants all app users to feel confident that when a possible COVID-19 exposure is received via the app, that it is a real event.
If you have the current Apple or Google operating system installed on your device, you may have noticed that Exposure Notifications are now included. You cannot enable this function until you have downloaded Virginia’s COVIDWISE app. Apple and Google will delete the exposure notification service tools from their respective operating systems once the pandemic reaches a point that public health no longer requires the use of this technology.
Thank you for downloading COVIDWISE! Together, we can protect our family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues, and keep Virginia moving forward!