The Maryland Department of Health announced Tuesday the launch of MD COVID Alert, an app aiming to quickly notify users of possible exposure to someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The alert system will use Bluetooth Low Energy technology, the health department said.

“MD COVID Alert complements our traditional contact tracing efforts to notify users of possible exposure to help contain the virus,” said Health Secretary Robert R. Neal. “I encourage Marylanders to use MD COVID Alert to help protect people around them, including those they might not know directly.”

Starting Tuesday, users with an iPhone or Android smartphone will get a push notification inviting them to receive exposure notification alerts. MD COVID Alert is available free of charge and is voluntary. Users can disable exposure notifications at any time.

The health department said the alert system isn’t a substitute for traditional contact tracing or for preventative public health measures that include wearing a mask, social distancing in public, frequent hand-washing and avoiding large crowds.

As of Tuesday, the state has roughly 157,000 confirmed cases and 4,084 deaths, according to health department statistics.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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