Although the design would not permit GPS tracking of individual phones, it allows public health agencies to ask for a zipcode or other geographic information from users to understand if a new COVID-19 cluster is beginning to form, the companies said.
North and South Dakota, as well as Utah already are using GPS-based tracking apps for contact tracing.
The North Dakota app, called Care 19, which uses GPS tracking, will be supplemented with a new app labeled CARE 19 Exposure that's built on the Apple and Google template released Wednesday, the state's governor, Doug Burgum said in a statement provided by Apple and Google.
"The CARE19 Exposure app will help us improve contact tracing and continue our ND Smart Restart by notifying people who may have been exposed to COVID-19, reaching the greatest number of people in a way that protects their privacy," Burgum said in the statement. "As we respond to this unprecedented public health emergency, we invite other states to join us in leveraging smartphone technologies to strengthen existing contact tracing efforts, which are critical to getting communities and economies back up and running."
Apple and Google said that while each state may have apps that are slightly different from each other, the design template would allow devices to communicate with each other.
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