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Michigan COVID-19 Smartphone App Delays

"Close up person using smartphone" by is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Delays in Michigan’s contact tracing efforts are impacting a new state public health tool. MI Covid Alert is a smart phone app that anonymously notifies users when they’ve been in contact with other users who have tested positive for Covid-19. In order for the app to work, infected people need to enter a PIN number they get from the state. 

Jonathan Warsh leads the contact tracing program for the State of Michigan. He says due to a large volume of Covid-19 cases, many app users aren’t being contacted by the state with their PIN number. 

“At this point can't call every case and can't call every contact because we just don't have the capacity to do so.” 

Warsh says COVID-positive app users can take it upon themselves to reach out to their local health department to obtain their PIN number. While more than 400-thousand people have downloaded the app since October, only 165 users have entered their PIN number to alert others that they’ve tested positive.