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Some MN iPhone users can get COVID-19 exposure notifications... without the state's app

Jan 11, 2021 06:37AM ● By Editor
Photo: KARE 11

By Val Lick of KARE 11 News - January 10, 2021

Minnesota health officials first introduced COVIDaware – an exposure notification app that works through Bluetooth – in November 2020. 

Now, an opt-in expansion could bring it to your phone... even without the app. 

Minnesota iPhone users with devices on iOS 12.5 or 13.7 and higher will get a notification about the opt-in setting Monday, officials said. In a release, Minnesota IT Services said the notification will tell users they can "turn on the COVIDaware MN exposure notification in their phone's settings." 

MNIT said if users enable the setting, they can get COVID-19 exposure notifications without downloading the COVIDaware MN app. 

In the MNIT release, Governor Tim Walz called COVIDaware MN a "powerful and anonymous tool."

"The new notification on iPhones will give Minnesotans greater access to this technology, so we can all play our part to slow the spread of COVID-19," he said. 

MNIT said the iPhone expansion will work the same way as the app. Both use random keys for users' phones that change every 10 to 20 minutes. Using Bluetooth, nearby phones exchange these keys. The release emphasized that neither will track users' locations. 

Health officials said the technology behind COVIDaware is used by more than 20 other states and territories.  

"The more individuals who download or enable COVIDaware MN, the more effective the tool will be," the release read. 

To read the original report and see related articles, follow this link to the KARE 11 News website.

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