By using COVID Alert NY, Cuomo says New York and New Jersey residents can help themselves and their communities in stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The smartphone app — which is both voluntary and anonymous — will send a notification to users if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
The app is free and available to anyone over the age of 17 who lives, works or attends college in New York or New Jersey.
For those worried about their privacy, Cuomo wrote on Twitter that “the app will never track your location.”
Instead, the app uses “Bluetooth technology to sense proximity to another phone with the same app, but not geographic location,” Cuomo noted in a separate tweet promoting the app.
“Knowing about a potential exposure allows you to self-quarantine immediately, get tested and reduce the potential exposure risk to your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and others,” the governor’s website reads.
The more people that download the app, “the more effective it will be,” the website continues.
The announcement comes as New York is facing a spike in new coronavirus cases just weeks after hitting a 30-day mark of holding an infection rate under 1%.
New York state has been tracking clusters with a particular focus on 20 ZIP codes in which there have been hotspots.
Infection rates in certain parts of New York City have increased over recent weeks. These neighborhoods have been less compliant with wearing face coverings and keeping 6 feet apart compared to other areas, prompting Mayor Bill de Blasio to deploy officers to help enforce safety measures.
As of Wednesday, out of 109,218 tests reported, 1,382 of them came back positive which is an infection rate of about 1.27%.
COVID Alert NY is available in multiple languages and works in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Delaware.
By Daniella Genovese