By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Dec 27, 2020 at 1:31 PM

Wisconsinites will soon have a new tool to stop the spread of COVID and keep themselves and others healthy, as a new mobile app will launch this week to aid with contract tracing. 

The new app, WI Exposure Notification, allows people with Bluetooth-enabled phones to notify recent in-person contacts of a positive COVID test. Those who test positive for the virus plug a code into the app, which will then anonymously notify recent close-proximity contacts (who have the app downloaded and activated) about the test. No GPS data or personal information is stored – anonymously shared Bluetooth signals are used for the contact tracing – and the app is voluntary. 

"We’re excited about this app’s potential to enhance our state’s response to COVID-19,” said Gov. Evers, in a press release. “The voluntary WI Exposure Notification app is another tool in our toolbox to stop the spread. Because it lets you know faster if you’ve been in close contact with someone who’s tested positive, you can take steps to keep yourself safe and protect those around you. Also, the app doesn’t collect or use device location, so users will remain anonymous."

“The more people who use the app, the more effective it will be, just like the public health measures we’ve been talking about throughout this pandemic.” said Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, in the release. “Stay home, wash your hands, wear a mask, physically distance and use the WI Exposure Notification app."

The app will go live Wednesday, Dec. 23, available for free in the Google Play store as well as in iPhone settings. Push notifications reminding and encouraging citizens about the app's release – complete with directions on how to download and enable it – are expected soon after the app's debut as well. 

Stay tuned for more information on the app, as an FAQ and instructional video from the DHS are expected shortly.  

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.