Washingtonians will start receiving text alerts for positive COVID-19 results

Jan 12 2021, 8:26 pm

If you receive a text from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) after a COVID-19 test, don’t be alarmed — they’re simply alerting you that you’ve tested positive.

The text will contain a link with a code to be inputted into your WA Notify app. 

The sooner someone who tests positive enters their verification code into WA Notify, the sooner they can anonymously alert others of possible exposure.

The texts will look like the following:

Washington State Department of Health

The text will contain the following information:

This number was given for a recent COVID-19 test. If this phone uses WANotify AND belongs to the person tested, please click the link within 24 hours. Follow the steps to anonymously alert others who may have been exposed.

Se dio este numéro para una prueba reciente de COVID-19. Si este teléfono usa WANotify Y es de quien se hizo la prueba, haga clic en el enlace en las próximas 24 horas. Siga los pasos para alertar anónimamente a quienes tal vez hayan sido expuestos.
NOT the person tested? Need more information? Visit wanotify.org/text
¿NO es quien se hizo la prueba? ¿Desea más información? Visite notificawa.org/texto

WA Notify users should click the link in the text to activate their verification code in WA Notify. This anonymously alerts other WA Notify users they’ve been near recently of possible exposure to COVID-19. Allowing WA Notify users to activate their own verification codes prevents the spread of COVID-19 more quickly. Public health may still reach out and offer a verification code during the case investigation process.

Intended to be an anonymous exposure notification tool, it was jointly developed by Google and Apple as well as the University of Washington. According to Inslee, it works without collecting or revealing any location or personal data.

The app uses Bluetooth to share anonymous, randomly generated codes with other app users nearby. It allows those who’ve tested positive for the virus to anonymously notify others who have been near them in the last 14 days. If you have been in contact with anyone who tested positive, you will also be notified.

“People are understandably concerned these days about being tracked and having their personal information compromised,” said Associate Professor Stefano Tessaro with the UW Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering in a press release. “However, the technology behind WA Notify has been vetted by security and privacy experts across the world, and it does not collect or store any information that personally identifies its users.”

The free app is available in 29 languages and can be downloaded on Apple phones and Androids through their app stores.

Alyssa TherrienAlyssa Therrien

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