By Ryan Hill

DAVIS (CBS13) – There’s a new way to find out if you have been exposed to COVID-19 in the Davis community.

UC Davis is the latest pilot project site to use a mobile app to let people know if they’ve come into contact with the Coronavirus. The app is called California COVID Notify App.

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It’s is also being used at the UC Davis Sacramento campus. UC Davis is also encouraging those in the Davis community to participate in the app, which doesn’t track location data.

Associate Professor Katherine Kim at UC Davis School of Nursing and School of Medicine is the local director of the pilot project. She said the mobile app works by connecting phones using the app with Bluetooth technology, updated exposure settings on iOS and a downloadable app on Android devices.

To access the app, iPhone users need to update their software to the latest 14.2 iOS, and Android users can download the California COVID Notify App from the Google Play store. Those using the new app exchange randomly generated numbers called “keys,” with one another. The apps anonymously log how close and how long the people were in contact.

“If someone, later on, takes a test and finds out that they’re positive, they can voluntarily put that code into their phone and the system can go back find out any other people who have potentially been in close proximity to that person who tested positive,” Kim said.

This exposure notification app is being released shortly before the holidays. It’s also coming online on the heels of a student testing positive for COVID-19 following an alleged fraternity gathering last week.

“So it’s not that we launched this in response to one case of a student testing positive,” Kim said. “We’ve been planning to do this. If you have one more case, thank goodness you don’t have more cases, right? Let’s get everybody involved in this program so can prevent that one case from becoming more.”

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UC Davis’ COVID Dashboard shows that between 11/8 and 11/14 there were nine positive COVID-19 cases on campus. Those individuals were asymptomatic.

Some people in downtown Davis think this is a technology they’re open to using.

“Any tool that can help with contact tracing and help us reduce the spread is always welcome. Especially technology, everyone has a phone in their pocket,” Kevin Wan said.

“If we have an anonymous way to report all of that information, I think we’ll have a lot better recording system,” Kendall Roberts said.

UC Davis says it also had 30 people – five of which were students – who live off-campus self-report either having a positive COVID-19 test or had been exposed to someone who is positive since last week.

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The university doesn’t have an update regarding the alleged fraternity gathering at this time.