RHODE ISLAND – Gov. Gina Raimondo announced the launch of a new app on Tuesday that will help the state combat the pandemic.
The app, 'CRUSH COVID RI,' can help connect Rhode Islanders with resources, provide information on how and where to get tested, and keep track of symptoms through quick, daily surveys. Most importantly, the app can also keep track of user locations.
The governor stressed that if Rhode Islanders chose to give the app access to their location, the information will only be saved to the users phone – not an online database. This location diary feature, which will record any place a user spends more than 10 minutes of their time, will only look back 20 days.
The information, she stressed again, belongs to the user. Even if someone were to test positive for COVID-19 while using the app, it's still entirely their choise whether or not to share that information with the Rhode Island Department of Health.
For those who do test positive and opt to provide their location data, Raimondo assures the public that the information will only go to the department of health, exclusively for the purposes of contact tracing, and no where else. The app user's name will not be sent along with the data.
"This is completely your choice," Raimondo said. "No one is ever going to make you download this app. No one is going to make you turn on the diary feature, no one is ever going to make you share the data."
"I, however, am asking you to do this," she continued. "I've done it, I'm urging my friends and family to do it, I'm urging the folks that work with me to do it, and I'm asking you to please download the app."
The application isn't meant to invade anyone's privacy, she said, but to help keep a lid on the virus once Rhode Islanders start getting back to work and some semblance of normalcy in the weeks ahead.
Rhode Island Department of Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott also encouraged community members to download the app and enable the location diary feature on Tuesday, stating that "we are one of few states that have it available."
"Let's take advantage of it and help together to crush COVID in Rhode Island," Alexander-Scott said. "This is just one more way you can help keep our communities healthy and safe."
In addition to news of the app launch, Raimondo also announced 134 new positive cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. This brings the state-wide number of positive cases to 12,951.
According the Department of Health, 1,840 Rhode Islanders were tested the previous day. In all, 117,246 Rhode Islanders have been tested for the virus –making the Ocean State number one in the country when it comes to testing rates per capita, according to Raimondo.
Of those who have tested positive for COVID-19, 247 Rhode Islanders are currently being hospitalized. Fifty-nine individuals are in intensive care units and 44 individuals are on ventilators.
Sadly, the governor also announced 26 new COVID-19-related fatalities, bringing the statewide death toll to 532. According to Alexander-Scott, these individuals ranged in age from someone in their 50s and another Rhode Islander older than 100.