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Louisiana encouraging people to download contact tracing app

January 24, 2021 GMT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana has released a voluntary contact tracing application for mobile phones that can let people know if they’ve been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the launch of the COVID Defense mobile application Friday and encouraged its use.

People who download the app will be notified if they are at risk of the coronavirus illness because of exposure to someone who was confirmed infected and also has registered through the app.

The governor’s chief public health adviser, Dr. Joe Kanter, said the voluntary app doesn’t track the location of a phone or share the identity of the person who tested positive for COVID-19 when notifying someone of exposure.

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The health department said the mobile application uses Bluetooth technology to exchange random tokens between phones.

Each day, the mobile phone of a person using the app downloads a list of any anonymous tokens associated with COVID-19 cases and checks them against the list of anonymous tokens it has encountered in the last 14 days to determine if there’s a match indicating exposure.