New app notifies New Mexicans of possible COVID-19 exposures

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) is launching NM Notify, an app that alerts users when they have been exposed to someone who has verified they are infected with COVID-19.

State officials said the app uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with other phones that have the app.

"It uses Bluetooth, it doesn’t use GPS or anything like that. It just uses Bluetooth to identify when you’re within 7 feet, for six minutes or more of another person that has this same app on their phone running," said Jim Walton, communication specialist for the New Mexico Department of Health.

If a user verifies they are infected with COVID-19, all other users that have been in contact with that person over a two-week period will be notified of the possible exposure.

“This is a powerful tool in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19. We strongly encourage the public to activate the NM Notify app on your iPhone or Android phone,” NMDOH Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins said. “In combination with vaccination, testing, and continued COVID-safe practices, this app will help us contain COVID-19 and protect New Mexicans.”

No personal data is collected through the app, according to state officials.

Walton said they’ve looked at other states like Colorado as an example, and are confident in the app’s contact tracing abilities. According to a study, for every two downloads of the app, one infection is avoided.

"We put this in our toolbox along with vaccinations, along with social distancing, along with masking. This is an important, a very important tool," he said.

For more information on setting up NM Notify, click here.