Federally-backed COVID-19 alert app now available for download

Joanna Estrada
August 2, 2020

The COVID-19 contact tracing app by Health Canada has now launched following an Ontario-wide test run that was delayed earlier this month, reports City News. "As we continue to gradually restart our economy, innovative technologies like this new app will help us keep our families and communities safe and healthy", Trudeau said in a press release about the COVID Alert app.

There are just under 4,200 active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, as of the federal government's Thursday count.

In addition, while the Android version requires uses to turn on their location settings, officials maintain the app will not know a user's location, name, address, when they were near someone or if they are now near someone who was previously diagnosed.

Despite a repeated request for a timeline, the ministry would not provide one.

If an app user receives a message from COVID Alert that they may have been exposed to the virus, they should follow the public health advice given on the app and get tested.

Every day, COVID Alert checks a list of random codes from people who tell the app they've tested positive for the infection. And if you have been in contact with anyone who tested positive, you will also be notified.

"If that's the case it will then encourage you to call your provincial health services for guidance on what to do", explains Trudeau. That long weekend people went to parties and beaches and gatherings, acting like COVID-19 was over.

"My biggest concern is how sensitive is it going to be?" she said. They've seen limited success with a lukewarm response from citizens who weren't keen to download them. "It will be up to individual Canadians to decide whether to download the app or not, but the app will be most effective when as many people as possible have it".

In an effort to assuage privacy concerns the government has formed an 11-member advisory council of external public health, mobile app, data security, epidemiology, and privacy experts that will be regularly reporting to the government to "inform decision-making with respect to the app". He said the Atlantic provinces will be the next to link their health systems to the app and the federal government is in talks with other provinces too. Those in other provinces can still download the app and will still be notified if they have been near someone who entered a key code, government officials told reporters.

If someone does get a positive covid-19 test - they will have to enter a specific code in order to send out a notification to other app users. "It will hopefully put out the up and running for local public health agencies right across the country in the coming weeks".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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