D.C.’s COVID-19 exposure notification service will now allow users to self- report a positive test result.
Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Health made the joint announcement that the new feature on its app DC COVID Alert Notice (DC CAN) will increase the speed of the District’s contact tracing efforts.
Apple iPhone users have access to the feature right away, but Android users will have to wait until Jan. 4, 2022 to make use of it.
Either through the app or iOS’s system settings, the service, which launched in October 2020, can send alerts to users when they may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
The service generates a random ID for your phone that can’t be used to peg you or your location, and it cycles through the IDs every 10-20 minutes.
Using Bluetooth, your phone interacts with other people who have signed up for DC CAN around you and periodically checks the randomized IDs associated with positive COVID cases against its own list.
When there’s a match, users are pinged by the service and given instructions by DC Health on preventive measures.
To protect privacy, DC CAN doesn’t track the users’ location. Google, Apple, or other users cannot see a user’s identity, and only public health authorities can use this system.
Users can choose to share their information for public health purposes. Users’ information will not be shared with other agencies like law enforcement or immigration.
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