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UCLA to Join Pilot Program for California’s COVID-19 Exposure Notification Tool



UCLA CTSI News Archive

A new program that uses smartphone technology to help identify COVID-19 cases and subsequently alert people to possible exposure to the virus will soon be available to the UCLA community.

CA COVID Notify, which is managed by the state of California and uses the Exposure Notifications System jointly created by Google and Apple, permits a user who tests positive for COVID-19 to quickly and anonymously notify close contacts that they may have been exposed to the virus, thus allowing them to seek medical attention and reduce risk to others.

Notifications are sent only to people who have opted in to CA COVID Notify.

The CA COVID Notify pilot was launched at UC San Diego and UC San Francisco in mid-September. Although the technology does not allow tracking of users, it is estimated that there are more than 20,000 users from those campuses. The pilot expansion is scheduled for Nov. 16, and it will add UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the UCLA community to help protect others by reducing COVID-19 transmission, and we highly encourage all students, staff and faculty members to activate it once the pilot begins,” said Michael Beck, administrative vice chancellor and co-chair of UCLA’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force. “The more users we have, the more effective this tool will be.”

On Nov. 16, all students, staff and faculty will receive an email from UCLA inviting them to join the pilot by activating a setting on their iPhone or downloading an app on their Android device.

When a person opts in to using CA COVID Notify, their phone is assigned a random identification number that changes every 10-20 minutes minutes. When two phones participating in CA COVID Notify come within six feet of each other, they exchange IDs—without names or locations attached. Bluetooth technology commonly used to wirelessly connect smartphones to earbuds must be turned on to exchange IDs between phones.

Read the full UCLA press release