CLOSE

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, talks COVID-19 frustrations, vaccine and building public trust.

USA TODAY

ST. PAUL — Gov. Tim Walz unveiled Monday an app that will anonymously alert users if they have been exposed to COVID-19. 

The free app, available from iPhone or Android app stores, was released after what Walz called a “tough week.”

“Our numbers are unrelenting,” Walz said of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, later adding he “would strongly encourage you — if not beg you” to download and use the app. 

Walz said similar apps are being used in about 20 states — and emphasized he waited to release the app until field testing has proven the app is secure and will protect user’s privacy. 

“It is painless, it is free and it is secure,” he said. 

How does the COVIDaware app work?

The app uses