Governor Walz Announces New COVIDaware MN App; Legislation Coming to Aid Shutdown Businesses

Governor Walz Announces New COVIDaware MN App; Legislation Coming to Aid Shutdown Businesses

November 24, 2020 News -- KRJB-KRJM-KKCQ 0

By Mark Askelson (11/24/20)

St. Paul, MN — Governor Tim Walz on Monday announced the availability of a new COVID-19 exposure notification mobile application, COVIDaware MN, which could slow the spread of COVID-19 by helping Minnesotans protect themselves and their loved ones. The voluntary, anonymous application will alert a user if another user with whom they have had close contact during the virus’ infectious period tests positive for COVID-19.

When Minnesotans download the app and allow notifications, COVIDaware MN generates a random, privacy-protecting key for a user’s phone. The app does not track individuals’ locations or their positions relative to one another. Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, the user’s phone and the phones of other users they are near anonymously exchange these privacy-protected keys. If a person receives a positive test, the Department of Health will provide a unique code the person may enter into the app, if they choose. If they enter the code, users with whom they’ve been within six feet for 15 or more minutes over a 24 hour period in the past 14 days will receive a notification of an exposure. COVIDaware MN will exchange random keys with anyone who downloads COVIDaware MN or similar applications developed by other states that use the same technology framework.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz notes that the app is secure, it doesn’t track your data, and is not mandatory.

COVIDaware MN uses a COVID-19 exposure notification technology developed by Apple and Google. More than 20 states and territories have launched apps based on Google and Apple’s exposure notification technology.

Governor Walz also announced on Monday afternoon that relief for Minnesota bars, restaurants, and other businesses impacted by his latest executive order could soon be on the way. The Governor says he intends on bringing the state legislature back into special session and pass this relief as soon as possible.

Walz added that he is continuing to push for more assistance at the Federal level as well and is in continued talks with the outgoing Trump Administration and incoming Biden Administration in seek of relief.