If you’re looking for your state’s official COVID Exposure Notification System app, you might not be able to find it thanks to the screwy way Google is handling the search function for COVID related apps on the Play Store. Since every state is creating its own stand-alone app, some states are lagging behind others, so it’s tough to know if your location even has an app available. This is why I’ve taken the time to round up all of the US-based COVID tracing apps on the Play Store, and will continue to update this list as new apps are released.
To no one’s surprise, not every state has agreed to use Google’s/Apple’s ENS (Exposure Notification System) API, and so I’ve broken up this roundup into two separate sections. You’ll find the official ENS apps that take advantage of the ENS API at the top of the page, with a few other tracing apps below that either don’t clarify what tech is in use or have implemented a different method of tracing.
ENS tracing apps
GuideSafe comes from the Alabama Department of Public Health in cooperation with the University of Alabama at Birmingham and MotionMobs. It uses the ENS API designed by Apple and Google, and once the app and your bluetooth are up and running, you can expect this release to notify of COVID exposure within a 14-day window, and much like any Exposure Notification System app, your identity and location will remain anonymous.
Covid Trace Nevada (Nevada)
You guessed it. Covid Trace Nevada is the official COVID exposure notification app for Nevada residents. It comes from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, and that’s about all of the information provided on the Play Store. Luckily Nevada offers a website that explains the app better, and so it’s clear this release utilizes the Exposure Notifications System from Google and Apple. So if you live in Nevada and would like to receive a notification if you come into contact with an infected individual, this is the app you’re looking for.
Care19 Alert (North Dakota and Wyoming)
Care19 Alert is a twofer since it’s the official COVID tracing app for both North Dakota and Wyoming. It’s been authorized by the Department of Health in both states, and the Play Store description indeed mentions that the app uses the ENS API. So while this release basically offers the exact same features as every other COID notification app, you can also use this title to notify friends and family should you test positive for COVID-19. There’s also a separate diary app available from the same publisher that’s also for North Dakota and Wyoming residents, so if you’d like to manually keep tabs on your whereabouts, there’s an app for that too.
COVIDWISE was the first COVID-19 contact tracing app released in the US. This app is specifically for Virginia residents and comes from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Health. The Play Store description explicitly states that the app uses a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) API framework created by Apple and Google, so it offers official ENS contact tracing. All you have to do is turn on your bluetooth, start up the app, and then let it do its thing. If you come within 6-feet of a traced individual that has COVID, this app should notify you.
Other tracing apps
Covid Watch Arizona (Arizona)
The Play Store description for the Covid Watch Arizona tracing app does not mention the ENS API, but after digging through the app’s FAQ on the official website, it would appear that the Google and Apple Exposure Notification System is mentioned. Sadly the COVID-19 ENS badge (that’s only visible through the Play Store app) is absent. So as it stands, it’s not definite that this app uses the ENS API, though the fact the app will be used in other states could be a holdup for earning its ENS badge. Of course, this all would have been easier to verify if Covid Watch Arizona was actually searchable on the Play Store, which would make it trivial to look for the ENS tag Google places on official ENS apps, but of course, Google messed with search results for all COVID terms on the Play Store, and so the app is currently hidden when you search for it (though the dev is working on resolving this issue with Google).
CombatCOVID PBC (Palm Beach County, Florida)
CombatCOVID PBC isn’t a tracing app for a state, but instead, it’s specifically for residents of Palm Beach County, Florida. So if you thought releasing individual apps for each state would flood the market with confusion, you’re going to love this release. What’s really odd is that this is a bluetooth-based app, but neither the Play Store description nor the official website state that this title is using the official ENS API, and since the ENS badge is absent on the Play Store listing, well, there’s currently no way to know what tech this app is using beyond the fact it works through bluetooth. You also have to wonder how useful this app will be when it’s limited to one county in the State of Florida.
CRUSH COVID RI (Rhode Island)
CRUSH COVID RI is labeled as “a COVID-19 pandemic response app,” and it comes from the Rhode Island Department of Health, so it appears to be official. Sadly the app does not use the ENS API, and so the developer has opted to use GPS location data. This data is stored locally and will only be shared if you choose to share it. So if you happen to test positive for COVID and would like to quickly identify the places you went and people you were in contact with, you’ll have to agree to share your GPS location data, which could very well cut down on the use of this app. So far, reviews have not been very kind.