Maui to Become First in State to Rollout AlohaSafe Alert App
Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino announced today that the AlohaSafe Alert application that has undergone pilot testing on Lānaʻi and Hāna has been approved for full rollout in Maui County, making Maui County the first County in the State to utilize this resource to assist in curbing the spread of COVID-19.
According to the Hawai‘i Executive Collaborative, the lead partner, the target launch date is mid-December, and more information will follow in the coming days.
The application is free and can be downloaded now from the Apple Store or Google Play. It is part of a nationwide effort by public health authorities and leading technology firms to assist in curbing the spread of COVID-19.
Lānaʻi and Hāna residents have been participating in a pilot project to test the AlohaSafe Alert app, which is the State of Hawaiʻi’s official exposure notification app, and was developed through a public-private partnership with aio Digital and Hawai‘i Executive Collaborative.
“We’re privileged to work with Maui County and the Department of Health to help engage Maui’s residents to utilize AlohaSafe Alert,” said Lynelle Marble, executive director of the Hawai‘i Executive Collaborative. “By downloading the app, people in Maui County are adding an additional layer of safety that will help to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
“Maui County has been at the forefront of pushing these advances for the benefit of our community. Widespread use of this technology by our residents and visitors alike will make it most effective in our battle against this disease,” Mayor Victorino said. “The AlohaSafe Alert app will quickly notify users that they may have been exposed to the virus. The app is meant to complement and expedite the ongoing work of contact tracers.”
There are currently 14 States and the District of Columbia that are participating in the Google Apple Exposure Notification (“GAEN”) system. California, Oregon and Washington are also tentatively set to roll out their State’s official exposure notification app by mid-December 2020. The AlohaSafe Alert app is able to communicate with any app on the GAEN system, which is vitally important in highly traveled areas, such as Maui County.
“As public health officials’ resources shift from contact tracing to vaccination plans, CARES Act funds come to a close, and as viral activity picks up around the nation, it is critical now more than ever that our community is protected through these technological advances,” Mayor Victorino said.
After the app is downloaded, the smartphone uses Bluetooth technology to anonymously communicate with other phones that also have a GAEN application. Devices will automatically “ping” each other, measuring the strength of the Bluetooth signal and the duration of a contact.
Location and identifiable information is not used or collected for privacy reasons. If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, they will be contacted by a contact tracer who will ask if the person had downloaded the AlohaSafe app. If so, the person will receive a verification code that will enable an anonymous notification to others that they might have been exposed to the virus.
To trigger a notification alert, devices must have been within 6 feet of each other for at least 15 minutes in the past 14 days.
The app is compatible with Android and iPhones. Android phones should be Version 6 or above. iPhones should have iOS 13.7 or greater.