OSU Tests COVID-19 Exposure Notifications Service

Oregon State University and the Oregon Health Authority are conducting a four-to-six-week test of the Exposure Notifications System, which will alert people to possible exposure to COVID-19, according to OSU Newsroom. During the test period, it will only be available to OSU faculty, staff and students. If successful, it will be made available to all Oregon cell phone users. Developed by Google and Apple, the system is already in use in several states. As of Monday, about 5,000 people at OSU were using the app. 

No-one is required to use ENS, and if you do add it to your phone, it can be shut off or deactivated at any time. The app does not collect, track or store any data. 

Steve Clark, OSU’s Vice President for University Relations and Marketing, told Newsroom“We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with Oregon Health Authority to test this system at Oregon State. It is another important tool in our efforts to protect one another and to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communityOur students, faculty and staff have demonstrated their commitment to public health efforts throughout the pandemic and their participating in this pilot program is another way they can make a positive impact.” 

The ENS is embedded in Apple devices with iOS 13.7 or higher, and can be installed in Android phones with an app. 

Once it is turned on, it will compare a user’s location through the day with those of any persons who test positive for the novel coronavirus. If a contact is detected, an alert will be sent to the user, along with instructions about treating and containing the virus. Users will be eligible for a free virus test from OSU’s TRACE-OSU testing program. The ENS can also be used to anonymously inform other users. It should not be treated as a replacement for existing contact tracing. 

For more information about the pilot program, visit: https://beav.es/enx.   

By: John M. Burt