Officials on Tuesday announced the launch of MassNotify, a voluntary phone app that aims to combat the spread of COVID-19 with the state of emergency lifted and residents resuming pre-pandemic routines.
In a statement, the Baker administration described MassNotify as a free app developed in conjunction with Apple and Google that works anonymously and “does not track” users or divulge personal information.
Here’s how it works: When two people using the app are near each other, their phones exchange random codes via Bluetooth, the statement said, and when a person tests positive they’ll receive a text with instructions on how to anonymously share their result.
If they do share their positive test result, the statement said, MassNotify users near the infected person may receive an anonymous alert on their phone about their possible exposure to COVID-19.
State officials said Massachusetts joins 28 other states and more than 35 other countries using similar exposure alert systems.
“Massachusetts leads the nation in COVID-19 vaccination, with almost 4 million residents fully vaccinated, which has had a significant impact on our progress in fighting the virus,” Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, said in the statement. “As we embrace our new normal, MassNotify is a voluntary, free tool to provide additional peace of mind to residents as they return to doing the things they love.”
Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito also praised the technology.
“The Commonwealth’s vaccination progress and continued positive public health trends have allowed us to safely reopen our economy,” Polito said in the statement. “MassNotify is another tool our administration is providing to help residents protect themselves against the virus.”