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Contact tracing app could soon be available in Arkansas

The app would use your phone's code not attached to your personal information and alert you if you've been near someone who is COVID-19 positive.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Technology allows information at our fingertips, and soon we could know right away if we've been exposed to someone with coronavirus 

Metova, an Arkansas-based company is working on a contact tracing app. 

It would not track your location or use GPS. 

It would use your phone's individual code, not connected to your personal information, to alert you if you've been close to another person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

"You can't just say you're positive," said GB Cazes with Metova.

RELATED: What is contact tracing, and how does it work with COVID-19?

"There's a verification process to where if you get a positive test you have to report it to the Arkansas Department of Health. The ADH will give you a code you have to put into your phone," said Cazes.

Metova has already presented it to ADH and legislators with the Higher Education Committee.

If the state approves the app, it will cost half a million dollars to develop, but it could be tested and launched within 8 weeks. 

The state government is looking at other contact tracing options after finding out their current workforce isn't enough.

"The CARES Act Committee approved $5 million dollars for UAMS to specifically help with all the contact tracing for institutions across the state of Arkansas," said Arkansas State Senator Brianne Davis. 

RELATED: Arkansas estimated to have 40,000 total coronavirus cases by August, researchers say

"What we learned today is that is probably insufficient, and that many institutions will have to find their own way to do contact tracing and they will have to do it at this point with no additional funds because all that money went to UAMS," said Davis.

This app will not replace manual contact tracers. Metova hopes it will speed up notifying someone if they've been exposed to COVID-19, so a person can quarantine, be tested faster, and hopefully slow the spread of the virus.

The ADH tells THV11 they are looking at multiple options for vendors for an app. The decision will be reviewed by the Secretary of Health and Office of Procurement.

If the app is approved, it will be free and voluntary for Arkansans to download.