COVID Alert app is now ready for use in Ontario

Joanna Estrada
August 3, 2020

The COVID Alert app lets users know if they may have been exposed to the virus.

If someone tests positive for COVID, their public health authority will give them a one-time key to enter into the app.

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.

The app will then encourage users to call their provincial health services for advice on what to do, once a user gets a notification that someone who had been nearby tested positive for COVID-19. Traditional contact tracing will continue to be conducted by local public health authorities.

"I want to be clear - this app isn't mandatory".

"Monitoring someone's whereabouts using their cell phones is, of course, a search", Cameron said.

Officials say that the app will become more effective as more people download it - and they stress that it's a notification app, not a contact-tracing app.

A step-by-step guide shows how COVID Alert works and what users can expect when it comes to finding out whether they were exposed to COVID-19.

"Canadians can opt to use this technology, knowing it includes very significant privacy protections", he wrote in a statement.

The COVID Alert app is now available in Ontario, where health authorities are beginning to hand out the keys that need to be entered. That long weekend people went to parties beaches and gathering acting like COVID-19 was over.

Right now, the app is connected to the Ontario health system, "but we know other provinces will be joining in soon, so people across the country can and should download it today", Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday. The governments have undertaken to communicate publicly that individuals should not be required to use the app or to disclose information about their use of the app.

Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Patricia Kosseim agreed, saying her office's review found strong measures to protect privacy.

The health information of anyone you're near.

The voluntary nature of the app raised questions about whether it will get widespread adoption, since officials said it is prerequisite for the app to be installed by both the person who contracted COVID-19 and those who wish to be notified.

"COVID Alert was built by Health Canada with the Canadian Digital Service on the private exposure notification framework by Apple and Google". That way, when people are able to report a diagnosis, you'll find out if you were near them.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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