Exposure notification alerts launch in Alaska
by Marci Suazo |
New tool for Alaskans to help slow the spread of COVID-19
iPhone users in Alaska can now activate an exposure notification feature, Alaska COVID ENX, that uses Bluetooth technology to provide anonymous alerts of potential COVID-19 exposures. Alaska COVID ENX is free, anonymous, optional, and easy to use. On Jan. 18, Android users will also have access to ENX with an app available in the Google Play store.
Google and Apple jointly developed the service which is being used by public health authorities and the public in dozens of states and countries to help slow community spread of COVID. The University of Alaska Anchorage is the designated public health authority for ENX in Alaska. "UAA is excited to be an integral part of the rollout of Exposure Notifications in Alaska. The tool has the potential to save lives and keep people healthy across the state. My hope is that not only will UAA students, staff, and faculty use ENX, but all Alaskans will take the time to use this technology to keep each other safe, said Kenrick Mock,” UAA professor of Computer Science and dean of the College of Engineering.
The Conquer COVID Coalition is helping the university promote ENX to Alaskans. The coalition’s mission is to educate Alaskans about COVID mitigation tactics so we can keep the economy moving forward.
“Healthy people drive a healthy economy. Awareness is key, particularly as we see cases rise again. Alaska COVID ENX is a great way for people to stay informed and to take action, when necessary,” said Bill Popp, President and CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation and Co-Chair of the Conquer COVID Coalition. “It will take all of us working together to keep our community and our workforce healthy.”
Alaska COVID ENX uses secure, anonymous, phone-to-phone Bluetooth “pings” and sends an alert under the following circumstances:
- ENX users come into proximity to one another for an extended duration.
- One or more of those users uses ENX to report a positive test result within 14 days of the exchange.
Whether Alaskans receive a positive test using at-home kits or health care providers, they will need to self-report the results within ENX for others to be alerted. The service alerts users without sharing any personal information. Visit enx.alaska.edu to learn more about Alaska COVID ENX.
Please contact Marci Suazo for interviews with Kenrick Mock, UAA professor of Computer Science and dean of the College of Engineering. Mock helped spearhead the rollout of ENX for the university and the state. Contact Gina Romero for interviews with Bill Popp. Popp is co-chair of the Conquer COVID Coalition and can speak about why ENX is an important tool to help keep the economy moving forward.
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