HILO — Hawaii’s optional coronavirus notification app is expected to launch statewide next Wednesday.
The AlohaSafe Alert app aims to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by notifying users about potential exposure to someone who tests positive for the virus, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.
When the app senses another app in use nearby, the devices will exchange a secure, random, anonymous code. A person’s location, name and other identifiable information would not be included.
A user who tests positive would get a text message with the option to notify other app users who may have been exposed. The notification would go out to all users who were within 6 feet (2 meters) of the person who tested positive for at least 15 minutes.
The app has already launched on the Big Island, Lanai and Maui.
“For me, the big takeaway is this is one other way that we can start protecting our island against the coronavirus and keep all of us safe,” Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth said.
He acknowledged that not everyone will use the app but called it an extra tool that will speed up contact tracing.
Brandon Kurisu, president of aio Digital, the company that worked on the initiative, said the app has been downloaded about 18,000 times so far.
Several other states and countries are using the technology, according to Hawaii County.