Download the COVID Alert app, Fedeli urges

Joanna Estrada
August 1, 2020

The COVID Alert app is now available to download onto smartphones.

If a user tests positive for the coronavirus, they will receive a diagnosis key from a public health official to enter into the app. It is free, easy and safe to use.

"I've downloaded the app this morning, and I encourage you to do the same".

The app is the federal government's latest move in the battle to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as Canada's economy gradually reopens.

The apps development began with the Ontario Digital Service and volunteers at Shopify, and was the foundation of the work by the Government of Canada, the province said in a release.

"This app does not replace contact tracing - a critical public health function". That code will notify others with the app if they have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive in the past 14 days.

Ontarians who receive an exposure alert can then get tested and take action to help keep themselves, their families, and their friends from spreading COVID-19 throughout the community.

No personal information from the user is collected by the app and does not track the name or location of the user. The more people who use it, the better it can trace, and therefore slow, the spread of the virus. It is a key tool in our case and contact management strategy.

Nor would they say why only one province has agreed to adopt what it supposed to be a national app.

Officials said the government has been working with federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien's office to address any privacy concerns. And if you have been in contact with anyone who tested positive, you will also be notified.

Several U.S. states are working on apps that use the API, including Alabama, North Dakota, and SC, but no contact tracing apps that take advantage of the tool have been released in the United States to date.

The app considers close contact being an interaction that lasts at least 15 minutes and occurs at less than two metres apart, which will be determined by the strength of the signal from each device within that interaction. "Contact tracing will continue to be performed manually by local public health authorities", the government said in a statement.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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