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WA Notify: A smartphone tool to warn of COVID-19 exposure

OLYMPIA (Dec. 1, 2020) — Since the coronavirus outbreak began in March, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (WSLC) and its affiliated unions — particularly those that represent healthcare and other frontline workers amid the pandemic — have urged state officials to better protect the health and safety of Washington workers. As Washington’s unions continue to seek opportunities to work with public health agencies to benefit frontline workers, the WSLC is working with the Washington State Department of Health to help slow the spread of COVID-19 across the state.

On Monday, Washington state launched WA Exposure Notifications (WA Notify),which uses smartphones to alert users if they may have been exposed to COVID-19. It is completely private, and doesn’t know or track who you are or where you go. WA Notify is free and can be enabled in iPhone settings or downloaded as an app from the Google Play Store for Android phones. Users can opt out at any time. Several states including Virginia, New York and Colorado are using this tool. Countries successfully using this technology include Ireland, Canada and Germany.

“Secure, private and anonymous exposure notification technology is an important tool for Washington,” Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday. “We’ve deployed WA Notify in 29 languages so as many Washington residents as possible can protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities. I encourage everyone to start using WA Notify today so we can continue to work together to contain this virus.”


How does it work?

When you enable WA Notify, your smartphone exchanges random, anonymous codes with the phones of people you are near who have also enabled WA Notify. The app uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to exchange these random codes without revealing any information about you. If another WA Notify user you’ve been near in the last two weeks later tests positive for COVID-19 and adds their verification code to the app, you’ll get an anonymous notification that you’ve had a possible exposure. This lets you get the care you need quickly and helps prevent you from spreading COVID-19 to the people around you.

How do I get WA Notify on my phone?

On an iPhone, enable Exposure Notifications in Settings:

  • Go to Settings
  • Scroll down to Exposure Notifications
  • Click “Turn On Exposure Notifications”
  • Select United States
  • Select Washington

On an Android phone:

For more information about Washington Exposure Notifications, download this fact sheet or visit

Thank you for doing your part to keep yourself, your friends and loved ones, and your community safe.

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