ST. PAUL, MN (STL.News) Governor Tim Walz today announced that since the initial launch of the exposure notification system COVIDaware MN on November 23, 2020, more than one million Minnesotans have opted-in to the COVIDaware MN system.  The voluntary, anonymous application alerts a user if another user with whom they have had close contact during the virus’ infectious period tests positive for COVID-19.

“COVIDaware MN gives Minnesotans the power of knowing when they’ve been exposed to COVID-19, which is key to slowing the spread of this virus,” said Governor Walz.  “I am glad to see that more than one million Minnesotans have taken advantage of this technology, because we know that our communities are safer when we each take steps to protect and care for one another.”

“As we continue to fight this virus and distribute vaccines to folks across the state, Minnesotans deserve access to every tool that can help protect themselves and those around them,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan.  “We encourage all Minnesotans to take advantage of this free and anonymous technology.  The more people use COVIDaware MN, the better we can inform our community about potential exposures and keep each other safe.”

“COVIDaware MN depends on a simple yet impactful premise, and this adoption milestone is an example of the vital role that technology and innovation play in effective crisis response,” said MNIT Commissioner Tarek Tomes.  “As more of us are willing to enable the exposure notification system, use it to report positive test results, and follow health recommendations when notified of an exposure, along with social distancing and wearing masks, we can make significant progress towards slowing the spread of COVID-19.”

As of January 31, 2021, there are more than 1,009,000 users of COVIDaware MN, which is about 18% of all Minnesotans.  The expansion of COVIDaware MN to iPhones on January 10 aided the state’s efforts in encouraging Minnesotans to use the exposure notification system.  The State continues to encourage Minnesotans to add their phone to the fight and to use COVIDaware MN to report a positive COVID-19 test result.  When Minnesotans receive a positive test result, they will also get a verification code from state or local public health authorities that can be voluntarily submitted in COVIDaware MN.  Minnesotans can get a verification code in two ways:

· After you receive a positive test result for COVID-19, you may be contacted by public health authorities, and you can ask them for a verification code for COVIDaware MN.

· If you haven’t yet been contacted by public health, call the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-5689, Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Ask for a positive test verification code for COVIDaware MN.

When Minnesotans voluntarily choose to enter a verification code, they are anonymously notifying others of a possible exposure.  If others get an exposure notification, they can then self-isolate and/or choose to be tested.  Knowing about possible exposure early helps prevent other potential exposures, and that will help to slow the spread of the virus.