COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado is seeing a big jump in residents opting into its COVID-19 exposure notification system.
The system works by sharing anonymous tokens with other users through Bluetooth technology. If another user tests positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day period and chooses to upload their results, users at risk of infection will receive an alert of potential exposure.
Since mid-November, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says 4,087 people have submitted their positive COVID-19 status to the system, and more than 45,000 users have clicked through to view instructions after receiving an exposure notification.
"It's kinda two-faceted, we wanted to know ourselves if we were around someone but we also wanted to share with someone that we didn't have contact information for that hey I tested positive," said Fiona Fickert.
It wasn't a hard decision for her to decide whether or not to opt into the system. She has six children who are very active in the community.
"We were kind of spreading out and touching lots of different bases. We had a kid working at Safeway, a kid working at Walmart, they are around a lot of people,"said Fickert.
She doesn't give her children cell phones but decided to give them WiFi-enabled devices so they could still send tokens to the notification system.
"So if they are out in public with people they don't know, if they are tapped into the WiFi, even the kids you don't want to hand a cellphone, it's still a way to get those notifications," said Fickert.
The state health department says the introduction of new variants, like Omicron, is a good illustration of why Exposure Notifications is an important tool to help us slow the spread of COVID-19 as awareness and identification are key to stopping disease transmission. CO Exposure Notifications can alert individuals who would otherwise be unaware that they have been exposed to the virus, which is especially important for people who are asymptomatic and unknowingly spreading the virus.
Fickert believes more people haven't opted in due to privacy concerns, but research shows it is safe.
"Nobody is going to track you, if you get an alert saying you were with someone who had it, no one is going to knock on your door and say you're not in quarantine, what's the matter with you. No one is going to do that," said Fickert.
Anyone interested in learning more about the system can click here.