COVID Alert app is now ready for use in Ontario

Health Canada’s COVID-19 contact tracing app goes live Friday

Every day, COVID Alert checks a list of random codes from people who tell the app they've tested positive for the infection.

It only works to identify COVID-19 positive people if they have the app. It uses Bluetooth technology to interact with the phones of anyone else who has downloaded the app.

The app uses the bluetooth on your phone to let you know if you've come in contact with someone that has tested positive for COVID-19.

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 COVID Alert app comes as much of the province is now in Stage 3 of reopening and is meant to assist with contact tracing and providing people an opportunity to self-isolate to get tested if they have come in contact with someone who has tested positive.

Those who receive a notification will also receive instructions on what to do next.

According to a press release from the Prime Minister's Office, the federal government said they are working with other provinces, territories to bring their jurisdictions onboard in the coming weeks and months. "I downloaded the app this morning, and I encourage you to do the same". "And it doesn't collect your name, address, geolocation, or other personal information".

In fact, both the Canadian and Ontario privacy commissioners support the use of the app.

"Canadians can opt to use this technology knowing it includes very significant privacy protections", privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien said. He and Ontario information and privacy commissioner Patricia Kosseim said government monitoring of its implementation and effectiveness, coupled with independent oversight, are key to maintaining public trust.

"You've had close contact with someone who reported a COVID-19 diagnosis through the app".

According to the province, the app collects no personal data or personal health information and does not collect or track Global Positioning System location data. In a briefing with the media, officials said that it would be up to experts on an advisory council to decide how the information would be used by public health researchers.

He said that EI premiums won't be raised.

The app, called COVID Alert, can now be downloaded from the Apple app store and Google Play store for free.

Nor would they say why only one province has agreed to adopt what it supposed to be a national app. The app was designed by the Canadian Digital Service using open source code from Shopify. Users who have tested positive can choose make that known on the app.

The new record-keeping expectation won't apply to take-out customers, and businesses will only have to share the information with a medical officer of health or health inspector.



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