COVID-19 Exposure App Launched in New Jersey

New Jersey is making available a mobile app in their bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the region.

The COVID-19 exposure notification mobile app, launched in conjunction with New York, will serve as tools to supplement the effort to trace and contact individuals subject to a COVID exposure, according to the state officials. The apps, COVID Alert NJ and COVID Alert NY, notify users of potential COVID-19 exposure while maintaining user privacy and security. 

New Jersey and New York join Pennsylvania and Delaware in creating a regional COVID Alert app network that operates across state lines to stop the spread of COVID-19. Connecticut plans to launch an app in the near future using the same technology.

COVID Alert NJ

The COVID Alert NJ app will work in conjunction with similar apps in the other states, allowing New Jersey residents to continue to receive exposure notifications when exposed to residents of those states. If a New Jersey resident travels to one of those states and is exposed to someone with COVID-19 who has an equivalent app, the resident will receive a notification.

The free mobile apps–available to anyone 18 or older who lives, works, or attends college in New Jersey or New York.

“Over the course of our public health emergency, we’ve called for a shared sense of personal responsibility to support our contact tracing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Gov. Phil Murphy in a press statement. “With the launch of COVID Alert NJ and our regional app network, New Jerseyans and residents in our neighboring states can support our fight against COVID-19 simply by downloading an application on their phone.” 

Murphy noted the app is free and will not collect users identity, personally identifying information, and location. 

Close Contact

The apps use Exposure Notification System technology developed by Google and Apple to strengthen New Jersey and New York’s contact tracing programs statewide. The COVID Alert apps will notify users if they have been in close contact—within six feet for at least 10 minutes—with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. 

State officials stressed the COVID Alert NJ are completely anonymous and do not track or collect any location data or personal data from your phone nor use GPS location data. The Exposure Notification System uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology to detect when another phone with the same app is within six feet. 

Users must explicitly choose to turn on exposure notifications with the ability to turn it off at any time. When the app senses a close contact, your phone will exchange a secure random code with the close contact’s phone without disclosing the name, location, name or personally identifiable data. 

Contact Tracing

If you test positive for COVID-19, a public health representative from the local health department will call as part of the states’ contact tracing programs and ask if you are willing to anonymously notify your “close contacts” by uploading your app’s anonymous close contact codes. 

Each day, the app will compare your list of close contact codes to the list of codes associated with positive COVID-19 app users. If there’s a match, you will get an Exposure Alert, along with appropriate next steps to stay safe and prevent community spread like self-quarantining and getting tested. COVID Alert apps never reveal the identity of the COVID-19 positive individual.

“COVID-19 knows no borders, and COVID Alert NJ will help us break the chain of transmission,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “COVID Alert NJ helps expand our contact tracing efforts, along with our neighboring states, in battling the pandemic, particularly among young adults, and also protects privacy and data. The greater the participation, the more effective COVID Alert NJ will be in helping all of us to beat this virus.”

Daily Data

As of Oct. 1, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 205,889 with 663 new cases and five new deaths, bringing that total to 14,340. The state probable death is 1,787, bringing the overall total to 16,127.

State officials noted 20 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.  

Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 1,899, followed by Bergen at 1,804, Hudson with 1,358, Passaic at 1,113, Morris at 686, Sussex at 161 and Warren with 158.

In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 241, Essex has 229, Hudson has 160, Morris at 144, Passaic at 141, Sussex has 36 and Warren has 13.

State Testing 

The daily rate of infections from those tested as of Sept. 25 was 3.0%. By region, the north has a rate of 2.7%, central at 3.8% and the south at 2.4%. The state is no longer using serology tests as health officials explained those results show a past presence of the disease as well as a current one. 

As for the rate of transmission, rising to 1.16 from 1.15 the day before. Officials have continually cited transmission rate and positivity rate as health data they rely on to track how the coronavirus is being contained in New Jersey, guiding them in determining when restrictions have to be tightened or lifted.

Officials reported 523 patients are hospitalized; by region, there were 228 in the North, 133 in the Central and 162 in the South.

Of those hospitalized, 96 are in intensive care units and 39 on ventilators, while 35 patients were discharged.

Bergen Tops County Count

Bergen has the most cumulative cases in the state with 22,579, followed by Essex at 21,157, Hudson at 20,767, Middlesex at 19,679, Passaic at 19,135, Union at 17,761, Ocean at 13,718, Monmouth at 12,025, Camden at 9,996, Mercer at 8,675, Morris at 7,920, Burlington at 7,208, Somerset at 5,850, Gloucester at 4,710, Atlantic at 4,152, Cumberland at 3,802, Sussex at 1,517, Warren at 1,449, Hunterdon at 1,349, Salem at 1,076 and Cape May at 1,026.

Another 338 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.

In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 11 outbreaks involving 43 cases have been reported in seven of the 21 counties in the Garden State. For North Jersey, Bergen County has one confirmed outbreak with three cases, Passaic County has one confirmed outbreak with nine cases, and Sussex County has one confirmed outbreak with two cases. 

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted 158 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 6,275 of the cases, broken down between 3,857 residents and 2,418 staff. 

Cumulatively, 728 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 25,141 residents and 13,639 staff, for a total of 38,780 cases. 

The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,164 on Oct.1. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,789 residents deaths and 121 staff deaths. 

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