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UCSD piloting COVID-19 exposure alert system

Posted at 5:19 PM, Sep 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-25 22:26:24-04

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) - UC San Diego is a pilot school for an exposure notification system that alerts users if they’ve come in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. It’s a partnership with the state of California and officially launched on campus Thursday.

The system uses smartphone technology to anonymously tell people they may have been exposed. It does not track locations and is completely anonymous. It starts working when a person downloads the system on their phone and enables notifications.

It then records proximity to other devices that also have the program downloaded. If two phones come in contact with each other for more than about 15 minutes and are closer than around six feet, it takes note of that.

Then, if a person tests positive later, they can go in the program and click a button saying they tested positive, and their system sifts through all the devices that previously had extended exposure, sending those users alerts about the possible exposure.

Doctor Christopher Longhurst, Chief Information Officer and Associate Chief Medical Officer for UCSD Health said the biggest factor that will impact effectiveness is the number of users.

“We’d like to see 75% of that community or more adopting. Modeling done by Oxford and other universities has shown that if we can get over 50% adoption in a population, you can actually help to end outbreaks,” said Doctor Longhurst.

As of Friday, about one day into the official launch, the school said 7,985 people had signed up. The school could confirm there are about 10,500 students living on campus, but was not able to share how many faculty and staff are on campus.

For instructions on how to download, click here.