Exposure notification tool is saving lives, according to researchers from UW and DOH
OLYMPIA, Wash. — ‘WA Notify’ is Washington’s COVID-19 exposure notification tool, and research shows that it has saved an estimated 30-120 lives and has likely prevented about 6,000 coronavirus cases during the first four months it was in use.
Researchers at the University of Washington School of Public Health and the Washington State DOH conducted a modeling survey of the free tool. When a person tests positive for the virus, others who have been exposed to that person receive an anonymous alert, and according to the Department of Health, it works through smartphones without sharing any personal information.
“The goal for exposure notification is to help more people get the information and care they need more quickly so they can avoid spreading COVID-19 to others,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, the Deputy Secretary for COVID-19 Response at DOH. “We are thrilled to see how well it has worked so far.”
More than two million people have enabled WA Notify since its launch.
“When we launched WA Notify back in November, it was a new digital public health tool representing an opportunity to help control COVID-19 in Washington,” said Janet G. Baseman, Professor and Associate Dean of University of Washington School of Public Health. “It’s incredibly exciting to now have some preliminary evidence of the value of WA Notify and to have a new tool to add to our public health toolbox for managing pandemics.”
The DOH has translated messages into 30 languages for in-app use and more than 36 for web pages, social media and other marketing efforts in order to make the tool more broadly available.
They say that having an electronic tool to alert people of possible exposure helped protect people from the deadly virus. More than 14,000 users who have received a positive COVID-19 test have used the app to alert those around them, and therefore prevent the spreading of cases.
To get more information on enabling the tool on your phone, and to learn more about it, visit WANotify.org.
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