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State to Introduce Phone App to Assist With COVID-19 Contact Tracing

The state government will roll out a new app that allows people to participate in COVID-19 contact tracing from their phones.

It’s called WI Exposure Notification, and will be available next Wednesday.

“This smartphone apps uses Bluetooth technology to let you know if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive,” said Gov. Tony Evers. “Android and iPhone users will see a notification on their phones to download or enable the app next Wednesday.”

The app does not use, collect, or store any GPS or personal details. Instead, it relies upon anonymous Bluetooth signals.

This week, Wisconsin got its first shipments of Pfizer vaccine to eight regional hubs.

That was welcome news for Department of Health Services Sec.-designee Andrea Palm.

“We’re hearing stories of healthcare providers being overcome with emotion as they receive their vaccine. Being focused on the nuts and bolts of the logistics and distribution, I didn’t really think about how much relief and excitement we’d all feel collectively as a state as vaccines started rolling out. But of course we would. Of course our healthcare workers would,” Palm said.

On Thursday, the state announced an additional 3,600 people had tested positive, and 59 people died.

Ben worked as the Special Topics Correspondent at WXPR from September 2019 until November 2021. He now contributes occasionally to WXPR. During his full-time employment, his main focus was reporting on environment and natural resources issues in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula as part of The Stream, a weekly series.