I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy. I know this has been a long year, but your efforts have made all the difference in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Virginia.
Unfortunately, given President Trump’s continued refusal to implement a national testing and tracing strategy, we still can’t afford to let our guard down. This virus knows no borders, and we must remain vigilant.
On that note, I want to make sure you’ve heard about COVIDWISE, Virginia’s official exposure notification app designed to let users know when they have been in contact with other users who have tested positive for COVID-19. This technology allows you to quickly determine potential exposure to the virus, thereby reducing the risk of infection for your friends and family -- all while protecting your privacy.
Use of the app is 100% voluntary, but it is an essential component of Virginia’s contact tracing strategy and I highly encourage you to download it. Knowing your exposure history allows you to self-quarantine effectively, seek timely medical attention, and reduce potential exposure risk to those around you.
The more Virginians who use COVIDWISE, the greater the likelihood that you will receive timely exposure notifications that lead to effective disease prevention.
Here’s how it works:
- Once you opt-in to the notification system, the Exposure Notifications System will generate an anonymous token for your device. To help ensure these anonymous tokens can't be used to identify you or your location, they change every 10-20 minutes.
- Your phone and the phones around you will work in the background, without draining your battery or data, to exchange these privacy-preserving anonymous tokens via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology. This is a passive process that begins once you opt-in and functions without the app open.
- On a daily basis, your phone downloads a list of all the anonymous tokens associated with positive COVID-19 cases and checks them against the list of anonymous tokens it has encountered in the last 14 days.
- If there's a match, the app will notify you with further instructions from your public health authority on how to keep you and the people around you safe.
Again, I highly encourage you to add your phone to the fight against COVID-19 by downloading COVIDWISE from Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store. For more information about the app, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s COVIDWISE website. You can also find an extensive list of answers to frequently asked questions here.
Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other, and remember that my office is here to help. Be sure to visit the COVID-19 page on my website for more information and resources. If you have any questions or concerns, or if you need assistance, please don't hesitate to call us at (703) 256-3071.
Gerald E. Connolly
Member of Congress