D.C. Launches App for Coronavirus Contact Tracing

The District has launched a smartphone app that assists in contact tracing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Beginning Tuesday, the DC COVID Alert Notice (DC CAN) app will begin sending alerts to subscribers about possible exposure to the virus.

Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, the city’s health director, said at a news conference Monday that users’ phones will send out “beacons” to nearby phones using an indiscriminately generated ID that will change every 10-20 minutes.

“Each phone will store the beacons it receives securely on the device,” Nesbitt said, WTOP reported. “Once per day, the exposure notification system will download a list of keys belonging to people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and reported their diagnosis through DC CAN. Each device will check the list of keys it is stored against the downloaded keys. And, if there is a match, the user will be notified and advised next steps from D.C. Health.”

The app, developed by D.C. Health, Apple and Google, will be available for iPhone and Android users.

Nesbitt said the system is incompatible with Virginia’s and Maryland “doesn’t have its own system yet.”

As of Tuesday, the District has recorded 16,445 coronavirus cases, including 64w deaths, according to city statistics.

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