Frequently asked questions

How can I get the Exposure Notification setting on my iPhone?

  • You can download COVID Defense from the Apple App or Android Play Store
  • Watch for a notification from Apple with the message: 

Exposure Logging 

Exposure Notifications Available

Get Notified of possible exposure to COVID-19 by the Louisiana Department of Health

  • To enable it, select the notification, and follow the prompts on your phone.
  • You can also go to the Settings icon on your phone, and select Exposure Notifications. Select the Enable or On button. Choose Louisiana as your region, then follow the prompts on your phone to enable COVID Defense.

What’s the difference between the COVID Defense App and the Exposure Notifications setting on my iPhone?

  • They are both part of COVID Defense exposure notification system.
  • The COVID Defense app can be downloaded and installed on your compatible phone. The app icon will appear on your screen like any other app, and offers many features to help you use the app.
  • Exposure Notification is a setting that Apple built into operating systems for compatible iPhones, so users can enable it once their state has launched a full-featured app. There is nothing to download or install, and users can choose to enable the setting, choose the region they live in, and exposure notification will begin working in the background.
  • The app and the Exposure Notification setting work the same way. They both use Bluetooth Low Energy and random keys to notify you if you may have been exposed to someone who later tests positive for COVID-19, and they both allow you to voluntarily submit a positive test result to inform others you may have been close to.
  • Your privacy is always protected, whether you’re using the app or the setting on your phone. COVID Defense NEVER collects location data and requires no personally identifying information, never knows your location, and never shares it with the State of Louisiana, Apple, Google or other parties.

Is it national or local?

Just for Louisiana

How is a close contact defined?

Two users within 6ft for 15min over 24 hours.

Which Phones can use COVID Defense?

Android phones must have Android Version 6 (API 23) or above.

iPhones can use the COVID Defense LA app, or enable the Exposure Notifications setting. To use the app, you must have iOS version 13.5 or above, AND be installed on one of the following phones:

  • 12, and 12 Pro
  • 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max
  • XR, XS, XS Max, X
  • SE (2nd generation and 1st generation)
  • 8, and 8 Plus
  • 7, and 7 Plus
  • 6s, and 6s Plus

To use the iPhone Exposure Notification setting, you must have a compatible phone (see the list below) with iOS version 12.5 or 13.7 and later:

  • 5s
  • 6, and 6 Plus

Find details on Apple’s Supported iPhone Models.

How do I know that you aren’t tracking me and my whereabouts?

Google and Apple began working together to ensure that they could help stop the pandemic by having phones communicate with each other through random generated keys and without sharing any personal information. 

To ensure the technology is transparent, the code has been developed as public, open source code so all developers have visibility into the functionality and data collected (only random generated keys). Additionally, the Louisiana Office of Technology Services reviewed and approved that this technology is safe to use.

Will Apple and Google collect information about me from the COVID Defense app?

No. Apple and Google will not collect any information about you from the COVID Defense app.

How do users obtain the verification code for a positive COVID test?

If a user has a positive test result in Louisiana, LDH will be notified of the result. Then, the LDH team will reach out to provide a verification code. You may also call 1-877-766-2130 to request a code.

Is there an expiration date for each verification code?

Yes, this time is set by LDH. If your code is expired, please reach out to LDH to get a new one at 1-877-766-2130.

Does the app use any of my personal information?

COVID Defense is designed to be used anonymously and does not require any personal information. Your location is never shared by the app with LDH or other app users. If you receive an exposure notification, you may choose to opt-in to share your name and phone number with LDH to get a call back to discuss your health status; it is not required.

How do I get notified if I am exposed to another user who has tested positive for COVID-19?

If the app detects that you've been exposed to another user who has tested positive and chosen to share that with other users in the app, you will receive a push notification to inform you anonymously of a potential exposure. You can open the app to view a notice that you have possibly been exposed, along with resources for learning more and guidance on next steps.

Does the app use my location?

No. Your location is never used or collected in COVID Defense. The exposure notification system is based on Bluetooth Low Energy and does not collect any geolocation or GPS data.

Do people have to be intentional about putting their phones near each other, or does the connection take place automatically?

The connection happens automatically once you setup the app and opt-in.

Where can I download COVID Defense?

COVID Defense can be downloaded from the App Store for iPhone users and the Google Play Store for Android users. Please note that not all devices are supported.

  • Android phones must have Android Version 6 (API 23) or above.
  • iPhones require iOS version 13.5 or above.

Do I have to use the app?

No. Download and use of the app is 100% voluntary and you may choose to install and uninstall the app at any time. However, we strongly encourage your participation as it will help improve the overall effectiveness of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community. The more of us who use it, the better it works.

How does the app protect user privacy?

The app is 100% anonymous. Additionally, the app:

  • Does not track your location
  • Does not collect data for advertising
  • Cannot be used for any purpose other than COVID-19 response

How does exposure notification help the economy?

As the health of our communities stabilize, the focus shifts to resuming normal business operations and economic recovery. An effective exposure notification strategy is a critical component of strong public health plans because it helps contain the spread of the virus and helps prevent a second wave.

What is the technology behind the COVID Defense app and how will it help slow the spread of COVID?

Google and Apple collaborated with many other groups to create this exposure notification technology. The COVID Defense app is based on an open source tool called PathCheck that has been adapted for Louisiana. 

Bluetooth technology allows public health authorities to quickly and effectively alert people that they may have been exposed and transmit important information about recommended next steps. Fast notification of exposure is critical to slow the spread of COVID. Learn more about the Exposure Notification API.

What is exposure notification? How does it prevent the spread of COVID?

Exposure notification is a core disease control method used by public health authorities for decades to help slow the spread of communicable diseases. This is done manually, with communities training thousands of specialized contact tracers. Learn more on the CDC website.

What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is a core disease control method used by public health authorities to help slow the spread of communicable diseases. This is done manually, with communities training thousands of specialized contact tracers. Learn more on the CDC website.

Customer support

Should you need any assistance with downloading or using the app, please email COVIDDefenseSupport@la.gov and someone from our team will get back to you shortly.

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