Launching an Exposure Notification App for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
[09/22/2020] Pleasanton, CA. — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has launched a COVID-19 Exposure Notification app called ‘SlowCOVIDNC’. The app was developed by SpringML in partnership with Google Cloud and NCDHHS. The app will alert North Carolina residents using the app when they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The app is completely anonymous and does not collect, store, or share personal information or location data.
SlowCOVIDNC is voluntary to download and use and is designed to enhance the state’s existing contact tracing efforts. The app completed Beta testing earlier this month and can now be downloaded for free through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
“SpringML understood the importance of security and a scalable environment needed to build this application. We are honored to partner with NCDHHS to deliver this application in 6 weeks.” says SpringML President Prabhu Palanisamy.
How does SlowCOVIDNC Work:
- Download the free SlowCOVIDNC Exposure Notification app from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store and enable Bluetooth and Exposure Notifications. Bluetooth must be on for the app to work.
- After opting-in to receive notifications, the app will generate an anonymous token for the device. A token is a string of random letters that changes every 10-20 minutes and is never linked to identity or location. This protects app user privacy and security.
- Through Bluetooth, phones with the SlowCOVIDNC app work in the background (minimizing battery) to exchange these anonymous tokens every few minutes. Phones record how long they are near each other and the Bluetooth signal strength of their exchanges in order to estimate distance.
- If an app user tests positive for COVID-19, the individual may obtain a unique PIN to submit in the app. This voluntary and anonymous reporting notifies others who have downloaded the app that they may have been in close contact with someone in the last 14 days who has tested positive.
- PINs will be provided to app users who receive a positive COVID-19 test result through a web-based PIN Portal, by contacting the Community Care of North Carolina call center, or by contacting their Local Health Department.
- SlowCOVIDNC periodically downloads tokens from the server from the devices of users who have anonymously reported a positive test. Phones then use records of the signal strength and duration of exposures with those tokens to calculate risk and determine if an app user has met a threshold to receive an exposure notification.
“With SlowCOVIDNC App, North Carolinians have another powerful tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19 right in their pockets. Downloading SlowCOVIDNC is a practical step each of us can take to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our state,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
NCDHHS is partnering with institutions of higher education, local businesses, and influential North Carolinians to promote SlowCOVIDNC and educate the public about how widespread use of the app can slow the spread of COVID-19.
SpringML delivers data-driven digital transformation outcomes with an experimentation and design thinking mindset. We provide consulting and implementation services and industry-specific analytics solutions that deliver high-impact business value from data. SpringML is a Google Cloud partner with capabilities to plan, assess, deploy, and manage data-driven engagements. We have been awarded Google Cloud specialization based on our expertise and customer portfolio for Application Development, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Marketing Analytics, Data Management and Security.