FARMINGTON – New Mexicans have a new way of learning if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 in public settings.
The New Mexico Department of Health has launched the Exposure Notifications System app that will alert users when they have been in close contact with people who have “verified that they are infected with COVID-19.”
With this move, New Mexico joins other states, including Colorado and Arizona, that have taken advantage of the software. The app can be used by iPhones or Androids. Users must navigate to the exposure notifications section in the app’s settings and enable location. Once enabled, users will get a notification after the system discovers an infected person was near them.
According to a news release issued Tuesday from the New Mexico Department of Health, the app uses Bluetooth to “communicate with other phones” using the app.
“If one of the users verifies an infection of COVID-19, all users that have been in contact with the infected person within a 14-day period will receive a notification of possible exposure,” the release said. “The app then directs users on next steps to prevent additional spread of COVID-19.”
The system relies on self-reported cases.
If someone tests positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the app will send a PIN number for the person to enter their status into the app. The app will then go through its data to trace other devices using the app to alert any users who were in close contact with someone who recently tested positive.
“This PIN is used to verify your positive diagnosis and prevent false reports,” the initial web screen says. “This PIN is not associated with your identity.”
The app generates a random PIN and will not include data about current locations or identifying information of users.
“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,” said NMDOH Secretary Tracie Collins. “In combination with vaccinations, testing and continued COVID-safe practices, this app will help us contain COVID-19 and protect New Mexicans.”
For more information about the NM Notify Exposure Notifications app, visit NMNotify.com.