MDHHS launches text message outreach, encouraging Michiganders to use COVID exposure alert app

App set to alert when within 6 feet of someone who tested positive

MDHHS sending texts to promote COVID-19 contact tracing app

LANSING, Mich. – If you get a text message this week from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), it’s not a scam. The state is reaching out via text to encourage people to sign up for the MI COVID Alert app.

“With the continued holiday season we wanted to make sure people have this as just one more tool,” said Kirsten Simmons with MDHHS.

The state launched the contract tracing app this fall. It can tell you if you’ve been within 6 feet of someone who tested positive of COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes.

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The app relies on Bluetooth to determine location and users to anonymously input whether they have tested positive. The text messages sent this week has a link in it to send you to the app page.

Downloading is free, and success of the MI COVID Alert app depends on how many participate. As of Monday, only 9.5% of Michiganders have downloaded the app.

Research shows it can be effective if as few as 15% of the population signs up.

You can watch the full report in the video above

Michigan will ‘seriously consider’ lifting COVID restrictions early

Michigan’s new COVID-19 order went into effect Monday and is scheduled to last through mid-January, but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the state will “seriously consider” lifting protocols sooner if recent progress is sustained.

As part of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ new COVID-19 order, certain entertainment venues that had been closed for the last month can reopen with limited capacity.

But some segments of the economy remain closed. Restaurants aren’t allowed to resume indoor dining. Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people and two households. Colleges have been asked to keep students off campus for a while longer.

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