Officials encourage residents to download contact tracing app

METHUEN, MASS. (WHDH) - State and local officials are urging residents to download a new contact tracing app that alerts users if they’ve been near someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The state partnered with Apple and Google to test the MassNotify Bluetooth app, which is available on iPhones and Androids, in Methuen and Somerville. The app notifies users if they have been near people who have tested positive and sends data if the user has tested positive as well.

The phone shares anonymous codes and doesn’t use personal information, officials said.

“I know conspiracy theorists are gonna come out and say ‘Oh, the government’s trying to control our minds.’ That’s not what this is about, this is about how do you track the pandemic,” Methuen Mayor Neil Perry said.

“This service is free. It’s totally voluntary. You can opt out anytime and it is confidential,” said Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone. “The more people that sign up, even if it’s just a small percentage of our population, studies have shown in other states and in the UK, the United Kingdom it can prevent hundreds of thousands of infections and thousands of deaths and fatalities as a result of Covid.”

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