New phone feature provides way to track if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19

Some of you may have noticed a new app on your phone, and many are worried about the safety of it.

“You might see it on your phone, but until you say yes, it doesn’t go into operation,” said Jeffrey Bohr, a certified Apple support professional serving Southwest Florida. “You have to opt-in to install and take place in the participation of the tracking that this app does.”

To find the app, head to settings on your phone—Click on privacy and then the Health App.

It says when enabled, your phone will use your blue tooth to notify you if you’ve been exposed to the virus.

But there’s a catch according to Apple tech Jeffrey Bohr.

“There must be apps designed that can gather and disseminate this data to the medical communities around—however, for the service to be enabled there has to be an app local to your area that participates,” Bohr said.

The good part about the app is that it can’t identify you personally. “This is totally anonymous. You are never identified with any personal information. It simply knows that the phone was there.”

The app uses the location to know what other phones you came into contact with.

“But they will use that information and if someone goes in and tests positive, they can backtrack that person’s activities through those Bluetooth beacons and say, hey, we know that you were at the grocery store at 9 a.m. on Monday and these other people with beacons were within a few feet of you,” Bohr said.

He said this a brand new technology. “Google and Apple rolled out this feature with an update about three or four weeks ago.”

While some are worried about tracking, Bohr wants to remind everyone that the feature is opt-in and that it’s there to keep people safe. “If they do come in contact with someone that might have been carrier of, you know, the COVID-19 virus, then that would give them a little peace of mind.”

Kaytlin Larson, a Fort Myers resident, agreed that it gives her peace of mind. “It would just make me feel safer, make me understand who and what’s around me. Yeah, of course, we would like to know any kind of information that tells us whether or not we’ve been exposed to COVID.”

Reporter:Andrea Guerrero
Writer:Drew Hill
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