Walz and House Republicans release COVID relief proposals

Yolanda Curtis
November 25, 2020

Gov. Tim Walz plans to unveil a new technology Monday that's created to help slow the spread of COVID-19, which has been surging in the state this month. Walz said he'll unveil his relief package Tuesday. "COVIDaware MN gives our state a powerful and anonymous new tool to alert others we've had close contact with-even people we don't know-and slow the spread of COVID-19".

Since the start of the CCP virus pandemic in the country, Minnesota has seen 3,205 deaths from the virus, Kristen Ehresmann from the Department of Health Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Division said during the Monday briefing. If there's a match, the app will notify the user with instructions from the Minnesota Department of Health about what to do, like get tested and quarantine. The app does not track individuals' locations or their positions relative to one another. If they are, they'll get a verification code to enter into the app that will trigger alerts to every other user who's been that close to them in the preceding two weeks.

COVIDAwareMN
COVIDAwareMN

It includes A $400 million grant program for businesses that have been impacted the most by the recent shutdown.

The app doesn't tell a user to whom they were exposed, where or precisely when.


COVIDaware MN will exchange random keys with anyone who downloads COVIDaware MN or similar applications developed by other states that use the same technology framework. Minnesota hospitals were treating 1,778 people for COVID-19 as of Monday, including 364 in intensive care. It does not use any information that would identify a user, nor does it share users' identifying information with Apple, Google or the state.

People can download the app from Apple's App Store for iPhones or Google Play for Android phones. More states are expected to adopt this technology as part of their COVID-19 response efforts. "This is the best that Minnesota can do, and it makes financial sense".


-Information provided by the Office of Tim Walz.


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