By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague the country and world, with “DC CAN,” the nation’s capital is joining public health authorities around the globe in using technology to expeditiously track and notify users who have potentially been exposed to the infection and reduce the risk of spread.
“Did you know: Your phone can track your COVID exposures! Over 750,000 phones in D.C. have opted into this function. Have you done your part? The more of us who sign up, the better the program works. So sign up today! Right now,” tweeted the District of Columbia Council on April 20, encouraging Washingtonians to opt into DC CAN.
While more people are getting vaccinated (422,000 doses administered), more than 46,800 Washingtonians have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and 1,097 lives were lost.
Utilizing Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, DC CAN will let both iPhone and Android users know if they have likely been exposed to the novel coronavirus with hopes of stopping someone from spreading the highly infectious virus to others.
Android users will receive a notification about the application or can download DC CAN from the Google Play store. With an iPhone, users simply have to opt-in to “Exposure Notifications,” in the settings.
After device settings are turned on for Exposure Notifications Systems, DC CAN will generate a random ID that changes every 10-20 minutes and will not identify people or their locations. Throughout the day, the phone checks all the random IDs that are associated with positive coronavirus compares it to its own list, and if there is a match users will receive a COVID-19 exposure notification and instructions from DC Health.
Despite the sharing of information, DC CAN is totally voluntary and ensures discretion and privacy.
“DC CAN was created with a privacy-first approach while still maintaining a balance between protecting public health and preserving personal privacy,” according to www.coronavirusdc.gov. “The app is designed to make it as difficult as possible for users or others to link the information you choose to provide to you or your device, and to use this information only to enable exposure notifications in the midst of this pandemic.”