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December 1, 2020

Skagit Public Health encourages residents to enable WA Notify on their smart phones

Today, Skagit Public Health encouraged Skagitonians to enable the Washington Exposure Notifications (also known as WA notify) on their smart phones. WA Notify is a new tool that works using the Bluetooth function in your smartphone to alert users if they may have been exposed to COVID-19. The system does not store or share personal information.

“We’ve always had a gap in tracking transmission in public spaces. This system will help fill that gap,” said Skagit Health Officer Dr. Howard Leibrand. “By tracking other users you’ve come into close contact with, WA Notify will be able to alert people if, say, the person sitting one table over from them in a restaurant two days prior tests positive for COVID-19. This will be huge for contact tracing and eventual reopening.”

WA Notify works by exchanging random anonymous codes with the phones of people near you who are have also enabled WA Notify using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology. If another WA notify user you’ve been near in the last two weeks later tests positive for COVID-19, and logs it into the system, you’ll get an anonymous notification that you’ve had a possible exposure. This lets you quarantine and seek testing quickly to prevent you from spreading COVID-19 from the people around you.

“Like wearing face masks and practicing good social distancing, WA Notify is another tool we can all use to help protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities from COVID-19,” said Public Health Director Jennifer Johnson. “And honestly- we need all the help we can get right now. I strongly encourage everyone to turn on WA Notify on their smart devices today.”

For further information on WA Notify, and instructions on how to turn the system on please see this document from the Washington State Department of Health.

WA Notify is based on Google-Apple Exposure technology, which was specifically designed to safeguard user privacy. The system does not collect or share location data or personal information with Google, Apple, the Washington State Department of Health or other users. Participation is voluntary.
If you have questions or need additional information, visit www.WANotify.org. You can also call the Skagit Public Health at 360-416-1500 for other questions related to COVID-19.