The Government of Canada believes your smartphone is smart enough to help keep you safe during the ongoing global pandemic.

Recently, federal minister of health Patty Hajdu, along with minister of digital government Joyce Murray, announced the COVID Alert app has been updated to send notification on a more precise timeline.

“As we continue to work together to limit the spread of the virus, COVID Alert is an additional tool you can use to protect yourself and your loves ones,” Hajdu noted. “We continue to improve the app to encourage you to join the more than 4.9 million who have already downloaded it.”

The COVID Alerts app uses Bluetooth signals to exchange random codes with nearby phones that also have the app installed. If someone you’ve come in close contact with later tests positive for COVID-19, they will receive a one-time key from their local health authority they can enter into the app. You and others who have spent time near this person will then be notified through the app you may have been exposed.

With the recent update, users who have tested positive and have entered the one-time key will now have the option to enter the date of their symptom onset or their testing date. This will provide a better estimation of the period when they may have been most infectious to others.

Information users provide about their symptom onset and testing date will stay on their phone and will not be shared.
Among those who also supports the COVID Alert app is Meadow Lake’s Gary Vidal, the Conservative MP for Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River.

“Conservatives support public health measures that fight COVID-19, including measures that allow Canadians to know whether they have potentially been exposed to the virus,” Vidal said. “So long as the government continues to ensure the privacy of its users is upheld, this app will play an important role in the fight against COVID-19. I encourage everyone in the North to continue to follow the advice of medical experts by washing your hands frequently, physical distancing, and where physical distancing is difficult, wearing a mask.”

The COVID Alert is available for Canadians as a free download from the App Store or the Google Play Store.

by Phil Ambroziak