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RI Gov. Raimondo unveils new contact tracing mobile app 'Crush COVID RI'

RI Gov. Raimondo unveils new contact tracing mobile app 'Crush COVID RI'

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced the launch of a new app aimed at helping state officials track and stop the spread of coronavirus at a press conference held Monday in Providence.

The app, called “Crush COVID RI" will be used by state health experts to conduct contact tracing and better understand the spread of the virus across the state.

Rhode Island has reported over 12,600 cases of the disease.

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“This is a homegrown app,” said Raimondo at the press conference, according to local news affiliate WPRI. “It’s going to be a tool that helps everybody in Rhode Island get through the crisis.”

“When I started this I said to the team that I need you to make something that tracks contacts and enables us to keep a lid on the virus, but protects people’s privacy and data in an ironclad way, so that’s what this is designed to do,” the governor continued.

The app, which state residents can download to their smartphones, identifies any area where users stay for longer than 10 minutes and reports that location to state officials. The goal, according to Raimondo, is to identify hot spots around the state frequented for long periods of time by many residents.

“The name of the game is containing the virus,” Raimondo added at the press conference. “We can’t stop it, we can only hope to contain it, so if everyone is on it we can quickly identify hot spots.”

The app will share location data directly with state officials, going beyond what is currently being offered jointly by Apple and Google in a contact tracing program the two companies have developed and attempted to market internationally.
 
An app previously launched by the two companies informs users if they come in to contact with an infected person, but does not share or store location data. Rhode Island's app stores such data for 20 days.

Rhode Island reported 26 new deaths from the coronavirus on Tuesday, the state's largest one-day total so far.