This mobile app could possibly put life-saving information at your fingertips.
With nations continuing to fight to keep the COVID-19 pandemic under control globally, it’s important that we all do our best at the individual level to prevent further transmission of the virus in our communities, including staying away from others when we are feeling sick. But we likely still need to do more to limit the spread of coronavirus, since it is believed that many people are asymptomatic. Fortunately, in Canada there is a way you can tell if you’ve been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 — and it takes the form of a mobile app!
The new COVID Alert app built by Health Canada is a free exposure notification app that lets you know if you’ve been around anyone that has received a positive COVID-19 test result. It has already been downloaded 5,137,385 times and is used to report diagnoses in 8 provinces and territories: Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.
The app does not use GPS or track your location, nor does it access your personal details or contacts. It simply uses Bluetooth to exchange random codes with nearby phones and checks those codes against the list of users that have self-reported as testing positive for COVID-19. According to the app, “if you’ve been near a user who tested positive within the last 14 days, through these random codes, you’ll get a notification.” Knowing this information can allow you to act faster before symptoms or further spread takes place and can help break the cycle of infection.
While this is one tool you can use to protect your health and the health of your loved ones during these times, the Government of Canada urges us to remember that it is just one part of the public health effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 and that we should continue to follow all public health guidelines in our areas.