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North Dakota Enlists Cellphone App in Fight Against Covid-19

April 8, 2020, 12:07 AM

North Dakota is asking state residents to install a location app on their cell phones so users who test positive for the coronavirus can help authorities determine where others may have been exposed to virus that causes Covid-19, Gov. Doug Burgum (R) said.

The app, Care19, stores location data and will help users reconstruct their movements, providing an advantage over relying on their memories alone, Burgum said at his daily briefing.

Users who test positive for the virus will be able to upload their location information to the North Dakota Department of Health to help in tracking down other people who may have been exposed, he said.

Contact Tracing

The app also invites users to categorize their movements, allowing health officials to get a better idea of how the virus is spreading—whether by traveling, community spread, or close-contact spread, according to a press release issued after the briefing.

The information will be kept anonymous, and users can delete it at any time, Burgum said.

Officials hope that at least 50,000 state residents will download the app.

The free mobile app went live on the Apple App Store during the briefing, and a version for Android phones will be available in about a week, he said.

Care19 was developed by ProudCrowd LLC, best known for its Bison Tracker app, which provides location data on fans of the North Dakota State University sports teams, the Bisons, and allows users to interact with one another.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Brown in St. Louis at ChrisBrown@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com; Peggy Aulino at maulino@bloomberglaw.com; Karl Hardy at khardy@bloomberglaw.com

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