COVID-19 contact tracing app now available

COVID-19 contact tracing app now available

The federal government's exposure-notification app launched in Ontario Friday, after a almost month-long delay during which Ottawa unsuccessfully tried to get other provinces to sign on.

COVID Alert uses Bluetooth, to share anonymous, randomly generated codes with other app users nearby.

The app does not collect personal information or health data, and does not know or track the location, name, address or contacts of any user, Fedeli's office emphasizes.

The exposure notification app was supposed to be launched in Ontario at the beginning of July but was delayed because the government said it wanted to take the time to make the smartphone app user-friendly.

The app is now only live in Ontario, launching weeks after a test-run across the province was delayed.

"This privacy-first, made-in-Ontario app is a key part of the province's contact management strategy to help the province to quickly test, trace and isolate cases of COVID-19", he states.

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Ontarians are being urged to download the new COVID Alert app on their smart phone from the Apple and Google Play app stores.

"You've had close contact with someone who reported a COVID-19 diagnosis through the app". The more people who download the app, the more effective it will be in stopping the spread of COVID-19. It will then prompt you to a screen that lets you choose your location, which is optional.

The app uses Bluetooth technology to alert people when they come into proximity to others who also have the app. "We expect they'll be coming on board soon, as well", he said. "You'll get a notification if a code you received matches one of the positive codes", the website states.

The app was designed by Ottawa e-commerce business Shopify.

For users of Apple devices, the app works on operating systems iOS 13.5 and higher, meaning some people might have to either upgrade their operating systems or not be able to use it on older smartphones.

"Canadians can opt to use this technology knowing it includes very significant privacy protections", said Therrien in a statement. "They were totally aware that there's going to be some hesitancy with people using this app", said Dr. Isaac Bogoch on CTV News Channel.

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