WASHINGTON — Apple and Google released a new contact tracing app on Wednesday. Together, they created a smartphone-based technology platform that automatically notifies people if they might have been exposed to the coronavirus.
One of our viewers wants to know if D.C., Maryland and Virginia are going to participate in Apple and Google’s platform.
Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday that Virginia is allocating $58 million to their contact tracing program.
"We have committed $58 million of the federal dollars we've received through the CARES Act to ramp up our contact tracing program," Northam said. "VDH is working to hire 200 new communicable disease investigators and 1,000 contact tracers."
After hearing that, #TheQandA team reached out to Virginia’s COVID-19 response team to see if they’re looking into using any of that money to fund a contract tracing app.
They told WUSA9 via email that "Virginia has been in communications with a number of contact tracer app vendors, including Apple and Google." They say no decision has been made at this time."
The Maryland Department of Health had a similar response.
They confirmed that MDH is continuing "to explore all options and technologies available, but there are currently no plans to use contact tracing apps."
Instead, they will be using "COVID Link." That’s a contact tracing platform that the Maryland department of health said they developed with help from the state of Rhode Island and the city of Austin, TX.
Gov. Hogan said the platform will utilize medical data from the Chesapeake Regional Information Center for Patients, or CRISP. It will employ 1,000 contact tracers who will be trained to collect information in accordance with all regulations and guidelines for the security and privacy of medical data.
We know that District leaders plan to hire at least 200 additional members to join D.C.'s Contact Trace Force, but there's no word on whether or not they will using a contact tracing app.