Newfoundland and Labrador to Launch COVID Alert on September 3

As expected, Newfoundland and Labrador will launch support for Canada’s COVID Alert app in September.

Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, will join Sarah Stoodley, Minister of Digital Government and Service NL, and Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Chief Medical Officer of Health, to hold a press conference on Thursday, September 3.

A press release explains the government “will hold a news conference to launch COVID Alert in Newfoundland and Labrador tomorrow (Thursday, September 3) at 11:00 a.m.”

The provincial government says the new conference will be live-streamed on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

COVID Alert for iOS and Android runs on the Exposure Notification framework from Apple and Google. It allows smartphones to have digital “handshakes” in the background using Bluetooth. Exposure is considered contact within two metres for 15 minutes or more with another person.

The app does not use GPS, is anonymous, and does not collect any personal information, such as phone numbers. The open source app has been vetted and approved by federal and provincial privacy commissioners. Users who test positive for COVID-19 can choose to anonymously alert others in the app of exposure to coronavirus, after receiving a one-time use token from provincial authorities.

In early August, it was reported COVID Alert was set to launch in Newfoundland and Labrador this September. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said back at the end of July, COVID Alert will hit Atlantic Canada next, following the initial release in Ontario.

Today, COVID Alert for iOS was updated to allow more provinces and territories to use the app, suggesting expansion was coming.

…more to follow