The news: North Dakota was one of the first American states to launch a coronavirus contact tracing app, in April. Now, several weeks into the process of reopening the state, the government in Bismarck says it will take advantage of the newly released Apple-Google exposure notification system—but that doing so will require it to run two separate apps.
That even one of the lowest-population states in the US isn’t able to definitively zero in on a single solution illustrates just how difficult it is for governments to figure out what to do next—even months into the pandemic.
First mover: Before North Dakota began to reopen some services on May 1, the state released an app called Care19.
“This is an opportunity for North Dakotans to be leaders in the worldwide response to covid-19,” Governor Doug Burgum said at the time of release. “Our goal is for at least 50,000 North Dakotans to download the app.”
Six weeks later, 33,000 North Dakotans had done so. It tracks location data for residents to help contact tracing efforts.
A data dilemma: When Apple and Google teamed up to build automatic contact tracing or exposure notification systems across Android