What you should know about COVID Alert CT
COVID Alert CT is completely free - Android users can download the app from the Google Play Store, and iPhone users can enable Exposure Notifications within the Settings app. You must be at least 18 years old to use COVID Alert CT.
COVID Alert CT is the voluntary, anonymous, exposure-notification smartphone app.
The app keeps track of when people are close to another app-enabled smartphone using Bluetooth technology.
The app alerts you if you were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
The app also alerts other app-enabled smartphones if you test positive for COVID-19 and were in close contact with those individuals, based upon your consent to share close contact codes.
How it Works
As you go about your day, the app uses Bluetooth to detect when another person with the same app comes within 6 feet. Your phone exchanges a secure random code with the other phone to record that they were near.
If the app senses that you’ve been with 6 feet of someone for a total of 15 minutes or more in a day, the app adds their phone’s random code to a list of close contacts. Devices that are just passing by or stay more than 6 feet away from you are not included on the list.
If you test positive:
- A contact tracer from your higher education institution, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, or your local health department will ask if you are willing to share the “close contact” codes your app has logged while you may have been contagious.
- If you agree, a contract tracer will provide you a code.
- Once you submit that code through the app, those individuals you were within 6 feet of for 15 minutes or more, who have also downloaded the app will receive a notification that they were in close contact with someone with COVID-19. Sharing your list is secure and private. The app never reveals who you are to anyone.
We know privacy is a serious concern, particularly in times like this, with these types of apps – but we want to be incredibly clear that exposure logging and notifications are completely anonymous. You will not be able to identify anyone that potentially exposed you to COVID-19, and others will not be able to identify you if you potentially exposed them. Your information is completely private and confidential. The app does not collect your name or personal information.
- You have full control to receive exposure notifications and can turn it off at any time.
- COVID Alert CT will never track your location - it uses Bluetooth to detect if two devices are near each other.
- Your identity will never be revealed to anyone.
- Your identity will remain anonymous; the app will never collect, transmit or store any of your personal information.
Questions you Might Have
Will I need to keep Bluetooth running for the app to work?
Yes, you will need to have Bluetooth enabled to use the exposure logging feature of the app. It is Bluetooth technology that enables the app to collect the random codes of other smartphones that are within 6 feet of your phone for 15 minutes or more.
Will the app drain my phone battery?
The app uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology which, compared to apps that use classic Bluetooth, provides considerably reduced power consumption while holding a similar communication range. While battery consumption may vary based on phone type and settings configuration, multiple independent tests of BLE’s impact on phone batteries have found at most 1-3% battery usage over an entire day of having Bluetooth enabled. You can also check how much battery any app on your phone is using by following the below steps (which may vary on specific devices):
- Apple iOS: Settings -> Battery
- Android: Settings -> Device Care -> Battery
What phones support the app?
The app will work on most Android (6.0 or higher) or iOS devices (13.7 or higher).
- Apple users, please follow these instructions to check your phone's version
- Android users, please follow these instructions to check your phone's version
Does the app work outside of the state of Connecticut?
In the United States, exposure Notification technology is set up based on the state that you are in - but can work with other states. If you are in a state that shares the same server as the State of Connecticut – you will still receive notifications.
However, if a state does not want to coordinate with other states – it is their right to do so. As of October 2020, all states with the app have chosen to operate using the same server.
An updated list of states currently using the same server as the State of Connecticut for their alert app can be found on APHL’s website.
Do Connecticut residents need to download the app of other states if they travel to another state?
See above for information about how the Connecticut application works with other states. Please be reminded, that if you live, work, or go to school in Connecticut, we want to make sure you get connected to a Connecticut contact tracer, so, it’s important that you receive notifications from Connecticut’s application so you can receive their correct contact information.
What should I do if I receive an alert from the app?
You received an alert because you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19. There may be a risk you’ll contract COVID-19, so you should quarantine at home, talk to your doctor and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others.
The notification alerting you to potential exposure will also include the phone number for state contact tracers - you should call that number for additional guidance and to be connected to any support resources you may need.
Does an alert mean that I will get COVID-19?
It does not necessarily mean you will develop COVID-19, but since you have been exposed, there is a risk that you may develop the illness. Please separate yourself from others and call the Contact Tracing hotline.
How will I know if I develop COVID-19? What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are cough and fever. You may also experience difficulty breathing, headaches, sore throat, congestion, confusion, vomiting and diarrhea, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell and fatigue. Symptoms can show up between 2 and 14 days after an exposure. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for more information about symptoms of COVID-19.
Remember – even if you aren’t feeling symptoms – you should stay home for 14 days if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 – and follow the instructions of the contract tracer you speak with.
How can I be sure this alert is legitimate? Can’t anyone just say they are positive as a ‘joke’ and set off an alert?
The alert is legitimate. If you receive an alert, know that the person you were near had their positive test result verified by either the Connecticut Department of Public Health or your local Health Department.
How close was I to someone with COVID-19 and for how long?
The app is programmed to collect information for an exposure to one or more COVID positive individuals within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more. We do not have the exact distance or amount of time of your exposure.
For purposes of COVID-19 contact investigations and potential movement restrictions such as quarantine, the CDC defines close contact as being within 6 feet of an individual for a total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period.
Will the app log exposures if you were in close contact with multiple COVID-19 positive individuals for less than 15 minutes?
Exposure Notification technology may send you an alert if you were in close contact with multiple COVID-19 positive individuals at separate times during the same 24-hour window, even if those interactions were less than 15 minutes each, as long as your total exposure to infectious individuals was at least 15 minutes in a 24-hour window.
The 15-minute threshold is cumulative. If with 24 hours, you spend:
- 7 minutes next to Person A
- 5 minutes next to Person B
- 4 minutes next to Person C
You will get an exposure notification if all of those people test positive as the cumulative time is 15 minutes or more.
Can I still go to work or school if I received a notification from this app?
If you receive an alert – you should follow the guidance on the exposure notification page within the app. Please know that this is a consistently changing situation – and guidance may change as we learn more about how the virus spreads.
Please follow the guidance on the exposure notification page within the app if you have been alerted that you were exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19. Please stay home and call the contact tracing hotline at the phone number displayed in the app notification.
How do I quarantine safely? How long do I need to quarantine for?
To safely quarantine, please stay in your home for 14 days from the exposure date noted in COVID Alert CT, unless you are visiting a healthcare provider. If you live with others, please try to stay away from others in a separate room. If you need to go outside of your separate space, wear a mask and wipe everything you touch down with disinfectant. If possible, use a separate bathroom from everyone else in your home. If a separate bathroom is not possible, clean all touched surfaces with a disinfectant cleaner after use. Try to have your family or friends deliver food to you outside of your door.
Should the people in my household quarantine as well?
Other people in your household do not need to quarantine based on an alert from this app. However, if you or anyone in your household begins experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, we recommend that they seek out COVID testing as soon as possible and avoid close contact with others while awaiting results.
I am under 18 years old, but I downloaded the app and got an alert. What should I do now?
This app is for persons 18 and over and we are not allowed to discuss this issue with minors. Please show this to your parent or legal guardian.
Should I get tested for COVID-19?
You are encouraged to get tested. However, COVID-19 can take up to two weeks to show up on a test. Even if you receive a negative result, you should still continue to quarantine for 14 days.
Where can I get tested?
You can also find a COVID-19 testing site by visiting ct.gov/coronavirus, typing in your zip code, and clicking “GO”.
I tested positive for COVID-19. How do I activate an alert to my contacts from my app?
You will need a code from a contact tracer to ensure your contacts receive alerts. Someone from your higher education institution, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, or your local health department will be reaching out to you within 24-48 hours to verify your test result and guide you through the process. Please be on the lookout for a phone call from contact tracers. In Connecticut, the caller ID will display “CTCOVIDTRACE”, or the number of your local health department.
My positive code expired. Can I get another one?
Yes. Your contact tracer will send you the verification code via SMS/Text with your consent. You have 24 hours from the time of code issuance to enter it into your app by clicking the link in the text message. If your code has expired, please call the state Contact Tracing hotline back. A contact tracer will be able to issue a new code from the contact tracing system.
How do I submit feedback about the app?
Your feedback is important to us. You may submit technical related feedback to DPH.firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions related to the steps in the app related to self-isolation and quarantine, please contact the phone number shown in the notification from the app, and a contact tracer will be able to help you.
If you have any other medical questions, please contact your medical provider, and, as always – dial 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency.