Is CovidWise Worth a Tinker’s Damn?

Last Thursday my son tested positive for COVID-19. The previous Sunday evening, he and I had cooked dinner together and watched “Mosul” on Netflix. (Worth viewing, by the way.) We were in close proximity for three hours or so. If he was infectious at that time, I was certainly at risk of catching the virus.

As it happens, both my son and I are registered with CovidWise, the state-sanctioned app that is supposed to alert users if they have been exposed to someone with the virus. The app uses a Bluetooth signal on your smart phone to know how close and how long you are to someone else with the cell phone app. If someone tests positive for COVID, the health department gives you a PIN, which you enter into the app. The app identifies everyone who was exposed to you within six feet for 15 minutes or longer within 24 hours within the past 14 days.

That’s the theory….

I have yet to see a notification. “No Exposures Detected,” my app says.

My son has been waiting for the Virginia Department of Health to send him that PIN, but, as of yesterday, he had yet to receive it.

I don’t know where the system broke down. Did he fail to do something? Were the COVID test results never conveyed to VDH? Does VDH have enough people on staff to follow up? Did the algorithm not figure out that we’d hung out in close proximity for three hours?

Who knows. But if the app didn’t work for us, I expect it hasn’t worked for others.

Draw your own conclusions as to what it’s worth. I’ll keep the app on my iPhone — but only because I’m too lazy to uninstall it.


P.S. I took a COVID test and it was negative.