Bluetooth-Powered Contact Tracing App Sees Limited Use In Wyoming

Sep 24, 2020

Credit Care19

Wyoming has a new contact tracing smartphone app available to residents. The Care19 Alert app is potentially a more popular, more private version of an earlier state-endorsed app: Care19 Diary.

The Care19 Diary app - available in Wyoming since July - anonymously stores a user's location data, keeping track of where that user had been.

That data will only be shared with the user's consent. While some have raised concerns about how the data is stored, the app's developers maintain that user location data is not being shared with outside companies.

The idea with the Diary app is that if a user were to test positive for the coronavirus, they could choose to share the location data with public health workers. But only 2,000 Wyoming residents have downloaded the app, so contact tracing efforts have made do without any help from the Care19 Diary App

But a newer Care19 app - Care19 Alert - has already gained twice as many downloads in the state since launching in August.

The Alert app does not collect location data. Rather, it uses Bluetooth and notifies app users if they have been in the proximity of someone who later tests positive.

However, that only works if both people have the app. So it affords greater privacy, but for Care19 Alert to be really useful, it will likely take buy-in from more Wyoming residents.

Both apps are still available for download.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Jeff Victor, at jvictor@uwyo.edu