Missourians can receive COVID-19 exposure alerts through MO/Notify, app expands services
MISSOURI (KY3) - After weeks of surging COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant, some people may take extra caution and look to keep track of potential exposures. If you live in Missouri, there’s an app that can help with that.
Washington University in St. Louis launched a smartphone app in July known as MO/Notify. Developers first launched the app for faculty, staff and students ahead of the Fall 2021 semester. The app was launched with approval from the state of Missouri and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, according to a report from Washington University School of Medicine.
The system notifies Missourians if they have been in contact with another app user who tests positive for COVID-19, even if you don’t know them personally.
It privately sends pop-up alerts to users in Missouri when they have spent time near someone who later tests positive for COVID-19. According to a WashU report, the app recently added a new feature its notification system that allows users to confidentially enter information about their own positive test results.
“The highly transmissible omicron variant has not only overwhelmed hospitals but the ability of local health departments to conduct contact tracing; they just can’t keep up with all the positive tests,” said Philip R.O. Payne, PhD, director of the university’s Institute for Informatics, and associate dean for health information and data science. “One simple thing that each of us can do right now to help slow the spread of COVID-19 is to opt in to getting rapid, pop-up alerts about exposures that are available through MO/Notify.”
The app uses the same COVID-19 exposure notifications system developed by Google and Apple for more than 25 states, including California, Alabama, North Carolina and Wisconsin. MO/Notify is now compatible with systems in other states that use such notifications.
For instance, if a Missouri resident is traveling to another state compatible with the MO/Notify system, then he or she returns home and tests positive, a notification will alert users from participating states who may came in contact with the infected person. Similarly, if that Missouri resident is exposed to COVID-19 while in another state that uses a COVID-19 exposure notification system, he or she will receive a notification alert of that exposure.
“We’re really equipping people to get alerts, no matter what places they may visit or where they may travel,” Payne said. “This is important as we move forward living with COVID-19 and are increasingly interacting with people beyond our homes, schools and offices.
WashU estimates around 27,000 people have activated the system. In January alone, the app delivered nearly 900 exposure alerts to users.
The MO/Notify app is available to all Missouri residents with an Apple or Android smartphone. For more information on the app, including new features, CLICK HERE.
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