According to New Brunswick Health, 82 people in Atlantic Canada and the Northwest Territories have shared positive COVID-19 test results via Canada’s COVID Alert app, reports CBC News.
Bruce Macfarlane, spokesman for Public Health, did not disclose how many of the 82 codes were issued in New Brunswick, citing privacy reasons.
“Atlantic Canada [and the territories have] been grouped together due to privacy reasons given the low volume of reported cases,” explained Macfarlane.
Earlier this week, residents of New Brunswick were urged to download COVID Alert, given a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell, said on Monday, “it’s critical that all New Brunswickers download the app,” adding COVID Alert “works exceptionally well.”
Russell added roughly 9% of New Brunswick’s population has downloaded the app, but she added the app’s privacy features do not allow for a “great breakdown” of information.
While some criticize COVID Alert for having too much privacy, Health Canada says it is “exploring options for how we might gather more information on the app’s effectiveness while still respecting privacy.”
Since COVID Alert launched in Atlantic province’s and the Northwest Territories last fall, over 1,240 people have tested positive for COVID-19.
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:
- Alberta (SHAME!)
- British Columbia (SHAME!)
As of January 14, COVID Alert has been downloaded 6.04 million times, with 15,630 people voluntarily entering in one-time keys, according to the federal government.