COVID-19: ‘Healthy Together’ tracking app falls short

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Healthy Together app meant to trace and track COVID-19 in Utah, is not tracking the virus the way officials hoped.

Thursday, state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn announced the app will no longer allow users the option for health officials to use location tracking in their efforts to fight against the virus.

An official with Archetype said the app no longer saves location information and it’s deleted all past location data for all users.

Due to the lack of tracking, Dunn said the app has not been helpful in COVID-19 contact and tracing efforts.

Despite this, she said the app is still an important part of the state’s response efforts and will continue to be available to Utahns.

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“It’s a great way for individuals to be able to assess their symptoms, be connected to testing, receive their test results, and also get information about what they should do next to protect themselves and their loved ones,” Dunn said.

“On or around Tuesday of next week we will submit new versions of the app to Apple and Google that no longer have the GPS functionality for anyone that chooses Utah as their state, but users will still be able to opt-in to Bluetooth if they’d like,” said Archetype official Zea Moscone.

Moscone said bluetooth works differently by recording whether two people’s phones have been near each other long enough to consider it an exposure event. They continue to say it’s inherently more private because the location of where the exposure occurred is not known.

Dunn said 58,000 Utahns have downloaded the app, 18,000 users have used it to be tested for the respiratory virus, and 500,000 have used the apps symptom assessment.

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Hailey Hendricks
Hailey graduated from Utah State University in broadcast journalism. She was nominated for a student Emmy and also won a Society of Professional Journalist (SPJ) award for her work on the show ‘Cache Rendezvous.’ She was also nominated for an SPJ on suicide prevention.

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