CA Notify App: Everything You Should Know
CA Notify is a free service that allows you to find out if you were exposed to COVID-19. The app, which is designed to help with contract tracing for COVID-19, has been in use since 2020 and has been found to be effective in identifying exposed individuals early for quarantine and testing, helping keep communities as safe as possible.
CA Notify can augment traditional contact-tracing methods, which rely on an infected person’s ability to accurately remember and identify everyone they may have exposed. This technology can be particularly effective for getting those exposure notifications to people who otherwise never would have been traced with traditional contact tracing.
How Does it Work?
Apple and Google’s jointly developed exposure notification API uses Bluetooth to determine contact between confirmed COVID-positive individuals and others, alerting users to potential exposure. The system uses a randomized, rolling identifier to communicate possible exposure to other devices, and individual state health authorities can customize specific details like how close and for how long individuals need to be in contact to qualify as an exposure risk. The state of California set contact with a confirmed COVID-19 positive individual within six feet for 15 minutes or more to merit an exposure notification.
Once you activate CA Notify, it does all the work – all you do is keep your Bluetooth on. If you test positive, you will receive a verification code from the California Department of Public Health at 855-976-8462 that allows you to activate the notification process. The code allows your phone to transmit your random keys to other CA Notify users. When you choose to activate this function, any phones that were within six feet of you for 15 minutes or more during your infectious period (14 days) will receive a notification of possible exposure. The service was designed to use Bluetooth and data minimally, so you don’t have to worry about exposure notification affecting your battery life or data usage.
How Long Does CA Notify Take to Inform Other Users?
You will only receive alerts if you were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. An exposure notification will be sent to your phone after your phone detects an exposure event based on a key/token match with someone who has reported positive in CA Notify. It takes less than a day to be notified if someone you’ve been exposed to submits their positive result in CA Notify.
How is My Privacy Protected?
CA Notify is designed to protect user privacy and security – it does not collect your name, contact information, specific location or movements, or the identity of the people you meet. The random keys are exchanged using Bluetooth and are not linked to your identity or location.
The identifiers exchanged with other phones, and the keys shared with the system when you are positive are randomly generated numbers that don’t contain any personally identifiable information. These identifiers are also stored securely on your phone by the operating system so that no other software application can access them, nor do they ever leave the phone. What’s more, participation is entirely voluntary, and you can opt-in or out at any time.
How to Use CA Notify on Your Phone
CA Notify is available in 15 different languages, including Arabic, Cambodian, Chinese, English, Farsi, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Pashto, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, Vietnamese, and Western Armenian.
The app requires a phone running Android 6.0 or above with Bluetooth Low Energy. Android users can download CA Notify on the Google Play Store
CA Notify is available on iOS 13.7 or later. iPhone users can enable CA Notify in their device’s settings:
- Go into settings
- Scroll down to Exposure Notifications
- Turn on Exposure Notifications
- Select United States / California and complete the onboarding