Apple, Google offer exposure notification help

Apple and Google can now offer public health authorities a prebuilt app for coronavirus exposure notifications, they announced Tuesday.

The capability, Exposure Notifications Express, will bypass the need for state officials to contract a developer to make an app for them, streamlining the process to get a digital contact tracing aid up and running.

In the time since Apple and Google first launched their exposure notification system in April, adoption has lagged.

Six states have taken up the systems, while 25 others have explored them, according to company representatives.

The representatives told reporters Tuesday that after meeting with public health authorities across the country, Apple and Google noticed many expressing concern about challenges in finding a developer and maintaining an app.

With the new Exposure Notification Express, authorities will just have to provide Apple and Google with information about how to reach them and recommendations in case of exposure to COVID-19 and then the companies will build out the Android apps. On Apple devices, the system will be built into the phone and just need to be activated.

“As the next step in our work with public health authorities on Exposure Notifications, we are making it easier and faster for them to use the Exposure Notifications System without the need for them to build and maintain an app,” Apple and Google said in a statement. “Exposure Notifications Express provides another option for public health authorities to supplement their existing contact tracing operations with technology without compromising on the project’s core tenets of user privacy and security.”