Information provided by WA DOH.
On Monday, Governor Inslee and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced the launch of WA Notify, a simple, anonymous exposure notification tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
What is WA Notify?
Washington Exposure Notifications (also known as WA Notify) is a new tool that works through smartphones, without sharing any personal information, to alert users if they may have been exposed to COVID-19. It is completely private, and doesn’t know or track who you are or where you go.
How does it work?
When you enable WA Notify, your phone exchanges random, anonymous codes with the phones of people you are near who have also enabled WA Notify. The app uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to exchange these random codes without revealing any information about you. If another WA Notify user you’ve been near in the last two weeks later tests positive for COVID-19 and adds their verification code to the app, you’ll get an anonymous notification that you’ve had a possible exposure. This lets you get the care you need quickly and helps prevent you from spreading COVID-19 to the people around you.
How will it help?
Studies have found that the more people who use exposure notification, the greater the benefit. Models based on three counties in Washington state show that even a small number of people there using WA Notify would reduce infections and deaths. Just like wearing masks, physical distancing and keeping gatherings small, WA Notify is another tool to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
How do I sign up for notifications?
WA Notify is free and can be enabled in iPhone settings or downloaded as an app from the Google Play Store for Android phones. Users can opt out at any time.
Is it safe to use?
WA Notify uses privacy-preserving technology jointly developed by Google and Apple and works without collecting or revealing any location or personal data. WA Notify is based on Google Apple Exposure Notification technology, which was designed to safeguard user privacy. The system never collects or shares any location data or personal information with Google, Apple, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), or other users. Participation is entirely voluntary. Users can opt in or out at any time.
Once I am signed up, what do I do next?
Additional action is only needed if:
1. You test positive for COVID-19, or
2. You receive a notification that you may have been exposed.
If you test positive, and public health reaches out to you, they will ask if you are using WA Notify. If you are, they will generate a verification code and help you enter it into WA Notify. The code is not tied to your personal information. Public health has no way to know who will be notified by the app about exposure when you enter your code. The notification will not include any information about you. The more people who share their codes, the better we can prevent the spread of COVID-19.
If WA Notify detects you may have been exposed, a notification on your phone will direct you to a website with information about what you should do next. This includes how and where to get tested, information about keeping yourself and those close to you safe, and resources to answer your questions. It’s important to read and follow the directions on the website carefully. The notification will not include information about who may have exposed you or where. It’s completely anonymous.
Why did Washington choose this solution?
Washington formed a state oversight group, including security and civil liberties experts and members of several communities, to review the Apple/Google solution. The group recommended adoption based on the platform’s proven reliability, robust data protection and use by other states.
Visit WANotify.org to learn more.
View a video that describes how WA Notify works: