As U.K. variant spreads, New Jersey asks residents to download app
COVID Alert NJ, the app that tells you if you’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, now has more than 563,000 users in New Jersey.
The state Health Department is urging Jersey residents who have not downloaded it yet to do so.
According to Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, we now know more than 50% of the spread of COVID-19 is from asymptomatic individuals.
She said you could easily be within 6 feet of someone for 10 or 15 minutes and never realize you might have been exposed to the virus. If someone with the app winds up developing symptoms later or gets tested for COVID, others with the app who are next to them will get an alert.
The alert allows those people to quarantine and get tested.
"Otherwise you might then spread this to others, your loved ones, your neighbors, your family, your friends,” Persichilli said.
While 10% of the state now has the app, public health officials would like to see 15-30%, particularly among younger people who tend to not develop symptoms.
She said another reason to get the app is because New Jersey has had a few cases of the more contagious U.K. variant.
She noted some people may be worried that if they get the app the government will be monitoring their movements, but that won’t happen.
“There’s no tracking. This is not a GPS tracking,” she said, “There’s no way we’ll know where you are. We’ll just know if you’ve been exposed.”