State updates COVID tracking app to allow self-test results

Minnesota’s COVID-19 exposure notification app will now let users notify others if they test positive using a self-test.

The COVIDaware MN app was designed to allow Minnesotans who test positive to anonymously tell others that they may have exposed them to COVID.

However, the app previously required a verification code that the Minnesota Department of Health would only provide after a lab-confirmed positive test result.

As of Thursday, the state says an update will now allow users who take an at-home test to get a verification code and notify others of potential COVID exposure.

“When Minnesotans use COVIDaware MN, they are helping others in the community make informed decisions about their health,” MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a statement. “Many people are taking advantage of widely available and quick self-tests, so this update to the COVIDaware MN app gives people another way to notify people of a potential exposure so they can take the appropriate steps to protect themselves and others.”

The state says those who test positive through a lab test will still be able to get verification codes to use in the app.

RELATED: Minnesota officials say COVID tracking app is a critical tool to fight the pandemic. Few people actually use it.

State officials have touted the app as a key tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19. However, 5 INVESTIGATES analyzed the state’s data earlier this year and found that few people are actually using it. In that report, state leaders blamed the low usage on COVID-19 fatigue, and the Minnesota IT Services commissioner acknowledged the state needed to reexamine its process for issuing codes.

The update comes a day after the state started rolling out the new bivalent booster shots, which Malcolm urged Minnesotans to get as school restarts and holidays approach.

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“At Minnesota IT Services, we strive to keep the people we serve at the center of our technology solutions,” IT Services Commissioner Tarek Tomes said in a statement Thursday. “We are proud of the collaboration that made this update possible while making it easier for Minnesotans to opt-in to using COVIDaware MN.”

More information about the app is available online.