⚫ Thanks for the memories, so long COVID Alert NJ app
⚫ The app that warned of exposure to the virus is no longer functioning
⚫ The NJ Health Department explained how it's now monitoring COVID cases

In October 2020, six months after the pandemic began, the New Jersey Health Department launched the COVID Alert NJ app, which notified users if they had been within six feet of another person with the app on their smartphone who had tested positive for the virus.

But now the app has been disabled.

According to Thalia Sirjue, the deputy chief of staff for the New Jersey Health Department, the technology that powered COVID Alert NJ, which was provided by Apple, Google and the association of public health laboratories has been discontinued because the COVID health emergency is over.

It won't function

“Without that underlying technology, we actually cannot operate the app, it just won’t function without that,” she said.

She stressed the app may be gone, but the virus is not.

AP/Canva/Townsquare Media illustration
AP/Canva/Townsquare Media illustration

“COVID is just a part of our lives now," she said. "We will definitely keep monitoring it so we know what’s going on with COVID in the state.”

Pandemic lessons

She said even as COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to fade for now we have learned important lessons from the pandemic, including “knowing your risk, taking the appropriate precautions and steps to protect yourself and your loved ones, especially if you’re immunocompromised.”

Alessandro Biascioli
Alessandro Biascioli

What happens if we suddenly have a new COVID spike?

Sirjue said if a new variant emerges and there’s a sudden increase in COVID cases it’s possible the parties who provided the technology for the original COVID Alert NJ app will get behind a new COVID alert effort, but right now there is no plan for that to happen.

She added right now it is recommended that everyone 6 years and older get a bivalent booster shot, and those 65 and older are eligible to get a second booster.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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