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Apple Maps adds coronavirus testing sites for entire U.S.

Apple Maps is now showing locations where you can get tested for the coronavirus. News that Apple was planning the feature was first reported in mid-April, 2020.

The map for iPhone and Mac users shows testing sites for places such as hospitals, clinics, general practitioners, and pharmacies, along with sites set up especially for coronavirus testing, and the data is presented for all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico.

On iPhone, you can find the locations of the testing sites by opening the Apple Maps app, tapping the search box, and typing “COVID-19 testing.” The map will then populate with relevant locations. A marker with a number indicates how many testing sites there are in a particular area. To see each one, either zoom into the map or swipe up the card on the display.

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Tapping on a site surfaces more details about that particular place. Most entries indicate that testing “may require a doctor’s referral and an appointment at the testing center,” but an included phone number makes it easy to get the specific information you need. Scroll down to the bottom of the card and you’ll find Yelp-powered comments and ratings from people that have already used the facility, though not necessarily for a COVID-19 test.

News of the latest Apple Maps feature comes ahead of a plan by Apple and Google to launch a contact tracing system as part of ongoing efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

The opt-in system will use Bluetooth technology “with user privacy and security central to the design,” Apple said.

Contact tracing can help to contain the spread of the virus as it can be transmitted through close proximity with affected individuals.

Data collected through Apple and Google’s system will be shared with local public health authorities, enabling them to identify who an infected individual has come into contact with. Identified individuals would then be contacted and advised to self-isolate while they wait to see if any symptoms develop. The two companies are planning to release iOS and Android apps for the initiative in the coming weeks.

Commenting on the plan, Apple said: “Through close cooperation and collaboration with developers, governments, and public health providers, we hope to harness the power of technology to help countries around the world slow the spread of COVID-19 and accelerate the return of everyday life.”

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