New York Becomes First State to Launch Digital COVID-19 Health Platform

(New York State)

New York, over the weekend, announced the launch of a digital platform, called Excelsior Pass, to track an individual's recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination to help fast-track the reopening of businesses and event venues. The platform is voluntary and would work in a similar way to a mobile airline boarding pass.

Each pass will have a secure QR code, which participating businesses and venues can scan using a companion app to verify proof of COVID-19 negative test results or proof of vaccination. An individual's data is kept secure and confidential at all times.

As part of the initial launch, participating New Yorkers may choose to use Excelsior Pass to verify their COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results as needed to gain entry to major stadiums and arenas, wedding receptions, or catered and other events above the social gathering limit. Venues that have already opted into the program include Madison Square Garden in New York City and the Times Union Center in Albany. (It hasn’t been announced whether the M.L.B.’s New York Mets and New York Yankees will use the platform at their respective stadiums when they open in April but New York will allow 20 percent capacity at baseball games to start the season.)

Good to know: Beginning April 2, Excelsior Pass will expand to smaller arts, entertainment and event venues.

According to the office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New York is the first state to launch such a platform.

Excelsior Pass is built on IBM's Digital Health Pass solution and is designed to enable the secure verification of health credentials, such as test results and vaccination records, without the need to share underlying medical and personal information. The technology is flexible and built to scale, allowing other states to join. The pass can also be printed and is complementary to other types of proof that patrons can use.

The Excelsior Pass Wallet app is available on both Android and for iOS.

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