After another push, many more Hawaii residents have adopted smartphone technology that will notify them if they were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

As of Feb. 11, the AlohaSafe Alert app has been downloaded 187,000 times — up from 100,000 downloads as of Feb. 5, developers and officials with the Hawaii Department of Health said Thursday.

Developers had aimed to reach at least 150,000 downloads, representing 15% of smartphone users in Hawaii.

Maunalua Bay with views of East Honolulu and Hawaii Kai. 2021.
More people have signed up for an app that notifies users they were exposed to someone with COVID-19. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

The app was first piloted in November but launched statewide in January. It sends alerts — like a weather notification — to the phones of users who came into close contact with someone confirmed to be infected.

The app does not track location data and maintains the privacy of all users.

The uptick stems from a recent software update that enables older iPhones to run the a notification system without downloading the app. That software was developed by Google and Apple and has been customized by jurisdictions across the country.

Hawaii’s AlohaSafe Alert app was developed through a public-private partnership with the Hawaii Department of Health, aio Digital and the Hawaii Executive Collaborative with funding from DOH and the private sector.

Support from local musicians including Anuhea, J Boog, Fia and The Green, who encouraged participation on social media, has also helped boost participation, developers said.

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