COVID Alert Launches in the Northwest Territories; Alberta and B.C. Still Holding Out
Canada’s COVID Alert app is now supported in the Northwest Territories, allowing residents there to obtain one-time keys to report COVID-19 exposure notifications.
While the Northwest Territories joins the rest of Canada in supporting COVID Alert as one tool to fight COVID-19, two provinces seeing major spikes in cases, B.C. and Alberta, still are holding out on supporting the app (#SHAME!).
Alberta enacted its second COVID-19 state of public health emergency this week and is still pushing its own troubled ABTraceTogether contact tracing app.
As for B.C., well they’re still mulling over the app because that’s what happens in this province. We might need another study or committee to figure things out.
“The COVID Alert app is a tool that the people of the Northwest Territories can use to help protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities from COVID-19. As more people use it, we can slow the spread of the virus and help prevent future waves,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a statement.
“We will continue to work with other provinces and territories to bring their health authorities on board so as many Canadians as possible can benefit from the app,” added Trudeau.
“Our biggest priority is protecting the health and well-being of our residents and communities. As cases continue to rise across the country, the COVID Alert app will help limit the spread of the virus in the Northwest Territories and provide comfort and peace of mind to residents as we continue to navigate this difficult time. I strongly encourage all residents to download the app,” added Caroline Cochrane, Premier of the Northwest Territories.
Canada’s COVID Alert app is based on Google and Apple’s exposure notification framework, which leverages Bluetooth on devices for anonymous “handshakes” in the background. The app does not use GPS info or collect any user data. It has been vetted as safe by Canada’s privacy commissioner and provincial counterparts.
When someone tests positive for COVID-19, they can anonymously alert others that may have been in contact using COVID Alert, by obtaining a one-time use key from their provincial health authority.
Provinces currently supporting COVID Alert:
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
- Northwest Territories
Still waiting for:
- British Columbia
As of November 24, COVID Alert has been downloaded 5.49 million times, with 6,103 people voluntarily entering in one-time keys, according to the federal government.