Using the same system that sends out Amber Alerts and severe weather warnings, the state will begin sending COVID-19 alerts to people's phones.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Wolf administration is using the national Wireless Emergency Alert system to send coronavirus alerts to people’s phones.

The first message went out statewide around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, saying “In PA, COVID-19 rates are rising & hospitals could soon be at capacity.” It asks people to stay home, and if they go out, to social distance, wear a mask and wash their hands.

The Wireless Emergency Alert system is what’s commonly used to send out Amber Alerts or severe weather warnings.

There’s the option for the state to target specific regions in future messages. For example, the governor’s office says if one region is experiencing a surge in cases, phones might get an alert about available testing in the area.

“WEA is one more way to reach as many Pennsylvanians as we can to provide timely information on COVID-19,” Governor Tom Wolf said in a statement. “This tool is another tool in our toolkit to fight the pandemic and unite against COVID.”