Walz to announce technology to help slow spread of COVID-19

MN Special Session

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Eliminate the expiration date for the MN COVID-19 fund. "If Minnesotans opt-in and follow health recommendations when notified of an exposure, we will slow the spread of COVID-19 and be one step closer to returning to numerous activities we miss so much".

The mobile app is free and available for Android and IOS and can be downloaded via the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

"To all Minnesotans who are struggling to get by, I know this pandemic is devastating", Walz said.

If they enter the code, users with whom they've been within six feet for 15 or more minutes over a 24 hour period in the past 14 days will receive a notification of an exposure.

COVIDaware MN will exchange random keys with anyone who downloads COVIDaware MN or similar applications developed by other states that use the same technology framework. "It does not use your identity or share your identity with others, including with Google or with Apple or with the state of Minnesota". It does not use Global Positioning System or any other technology that would track a user's location.

The app will supplement the state's contact tracing efforts and will flag exposures that are now hard to trace because people often don't know where or from whom they contracted the virus, said Kris Ehresmann, the infectious disease director at the Minnesota Department of Health. The more individuals who download the app, the more effective the tool will be to notify Minnesotans about potential exposures. More than 1 million people in Colorado opted in within its first couple weeks, Tomes said.

The app was created by the state in partnership with the nonprofit PathCheck Foundation, an organization founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that develops COVID-19 apps for digital contact tracing.

Minnesota health officials reported 7,219 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, lifting the total number of positive cases to more than 270,000 since the start of the pandemic. Monday's numbers tend to be lower than in the rest of the week because of less testing on weekends. Ehresmann said she expects the state to top 300,000 cases around Thanksgiving. Assistance will also be provided to long-term care facilities and the state's homeless shelters, he said.

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