Virginia Department of Health launches COVIDWISE Express for iPhones

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) – As vaccinations and the fight against coronavirus continues, the Virginia Department of Health is making new strides in exposure alerts.

In August they debuted the COVIDWISE app to notify people of potential COVID-19 exposures.

Now, they’re making a new push for iPhones – without the need to download anything.

“As of last week, you started getting these push notifications from Apple to say hey, you’ve not done that, if you’d do this and turn on exposure notifications, you’ll get the same basic benefits, just without all the extra things,” said Jeff Stover, Virginia Department of Health executive advisor to the health commissioner.

Stover says the new function – called COVIDWISE Express – can still notify you of potential exposures, but does miss some other elements of the app.

The app offers things such as stats and frequently asked questions.

“We also have something called Virtual VDH, which is a place that you can go to and you can ask it questions [such as] I received an exposure notification – now what?” said Stover.

But just with any other electronic functions, privacy is a concern for users.

Stover says Express doesn’t collect your information. Rather, it pings off other iPhones without ever having to know or share private data.

“It is completely anonymous. There’s no reason for us to need to know your name,” said Stover.

Turning on Express is as simple as going to your settings and clicking Exposure Notifications.

From there, onboarding takes less than a minute to set up.

Copyright 2021 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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