Sunday, July 3, 2022

Virginia Department of Health’s Award-Winning COVIDWISE Exposure Notifications App Hits Record Level of Use

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reports that use of its app, COVIDWISE, has reached an all-time high during the latest iteration of the COVID-19 pandemic (Courtesy of VDH)

STATEWIDE — COVIDWISE, Virginia’s COVID-19 exposure notifications app is being used by a record number of Virginians, remaining a vital part of the Commonwealth’s pandemic response toolkit.

More than 2.5 million Virginians are now using COVIDWISE.  The app accounts for 51 percent of all users.  COVIDWISE Express, an app-less version exclusively for iPhone users, was made available in February 2021.  Express makes up approximately 49 percent of all users.

Record levels of app exposure notifications have been anonymously sent by users since mid-December.  The single highest recorded number of exposure notifications received by users, 5,260, occurred on December 31, 2021.  During the first two weeks of January, the average number of exposure notifications sent was 2,994.

“With more than 2.5 million users, COVIDWISE is an invaluable tool to augment our contact tracing efforts,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A. “People receiving the anonymous exposure notifications are advised to monitor their health for symptoms and to take precautions, such as staying home, wearing a mask, getting tested, and getting vaccinated or boosted if eligible, to protect themselves and those around them.”

COVIDWISE app users have the benefit of easy access to the COVID-19 Vaccination Record Request Portal, available via a link in the app’s “Virtual VDH” tab.   This portal allows users to easily access and save their COVID vaccine records onto their mobile devices. The portal provides users with a unique QR code, which acts as a digital alternative to a paper CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) vaccine card and also confirms the vaccine record as an official VDH record.

In September, VDH received a State Government Experience Award from the Center for Digital Government for building and adapting a constituent-centric digital experience at the state level. The award program recognizes the achievements and best practices of states, cities, and counties that are radically improving the experience of government and pushing the boundaries of how citizen services are delivered.

COVIDWISE is free, anonymous, and relies on users to inform others of potential exposures.  No location data or personal information is ever collected, stored, tracked, or transmitted to VDH as part of the app or Express version. Users have the ability to delete the app or turn off exposure notifications at any time.

VDH remains committed to COVIDWISE privacy protections, continued adoption, and widespread use of exposure notifications as a tool to support the public’s health and reduce the spread of the virus.

To learn more about COVIDWISE, or to download the app, visit covidwise.org.  iPhone users may alternatively turn on exposure notifications via Settings on their device.

To check your vaccination status, visit vase.vdh.virginia.gov/vacapps/f?p=545:1

For more information on COVID-19 in Virginia, visit vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus and cdc.gov/coronavirus.

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