On Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor announced a partnership with the Citizen SafePass mobile app that will provide COVID-19 contact tracing capabilities for people throughout LA County.
He appeared with L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek, and Citizen CEO Andrew Frame.
Garcetti launched the partnership with SafePass, the mobile app from Citizen which will provide COVID-19 contact tracing capabilities for individuals through the county.
Garcetti said LA County has fewer deaths per 100,000 residents than most of the large counties in America adding numbers have been much better in the past months with hospitalizations down.
"Six months into this crisis, the virus is still here and it is still spreading, and it's still deadly," Garcetti said.
Garcetti said the app is free and "you can help us dramatically expand our capacity to trace outbreaks and save lives."
The app will identify contacts you may have unknowingly exposed if you are negative and they will receive a text but won't know who was positive, according to Garcetti.
"It never identifies the person who tested positive," Garcetti said.
"With SafePass, you can track your symptoms, find testing sites, and enable Bluetooth contact tracing to get alerted when you’re exposed to COVID-19. And easily share your health status with friends for peace of mind when you spend time together," the app says online.
LA County Public Health has identified 249,859 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County, and a total of 6,090 deaths. Testing results are available for nearly 2,393,000 individuals with 10% of all people testing positive.
Barger said if an individual has extended contact with somebody who later tests positive for COVID-19 they will receive a text to get tested.
"Robust efficient and thorough contact tracing is critical," Barger said adding contacts need to be traced and notified quickly.
She said the information gathered through the app will help the county learn more about contact tracing.
Identity remains anonymous, she said adding there are strict privacy precautions. Barger said the app is voluntary.
Ferrer said "contact tracing relies on residents being able to share with us key information to connect so that we can identify their close contacts."
She said LA needs additional capacity and some of which will come through SafePass.
"This additional support will be powerful in all of our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19," Ferrer said.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said "we have the most robust and successful testing programs anywhere in the United States."
Last month, California Gov. Newsom announced new reopening guidelines - again - for the counties in the state and this time it's color-coded and in tiers. LA County is in the purple tier or "widespread."
Newsom said the blueprint for a safer economy will be statewide, simple, slow, and stringent. The four tiers will be:
purple -widespread where most non-essential indoor businesses remain closed
red - substantial where some non-essential indoor businesses operations are closed
orange - moderate where some business operations are open with modifications.