By: Daniel Dodson
GuideSafe, an application developed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, launched last month as part of an initiative to combat COVID-19.
The GuideSafeTM Exposure Notification App uses bluetooth technology already in mobile devices to detect if the user may have potentially been exposed to COVID-19. It is available at no cost from the Apple App Store and Google Play to anyone in the state of Alabama.
Once the GuideSafe App is downloaded on an iPhone or Android device, users will opt-in to the notification system through the prompts given on the screen.
The app does not record location or identity nor does it access one’s contact list. The app generates a random code for each user. This random code then changes every 10 to 20 minutes to keep anonymity.
As users go about their day, all phones with the GuideSafe App active and with permissions granted who come in contact with each other, defined as within six feet for greater than 15 minutes, will exchange these random codes via bluetooth. The app works in the background of the phone and is not required to be open for the technology to work.
When a self-reported and lab-verified positive COVID-19 test occurs, the Alabama Department of Public Health enables a notification to devices that were in the exposure contact radius of the positive case in the past 14 days. Once the notification occurs, the app will provide assistance on what steps to take next as provided by ADPH.
GuideSafe also provides a daily check-in process and passport clearance to enter events and classes after the user has submitted that they are symptom free.
Samford University has encouraged students to participate in daily check-ins and usage of the application, but has not provided any enforcement of its use to date.