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COVID Alert App Notification Shuts Down Men’s Curling Event

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Canada’s COVID Alert app sent out an exposure notification on the weekend at a men’s curling tournament.

According to The Canadian Press, a player at the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard received an exposure notification from the COVID Alert on Sunday, which resulted in the men’s tournament shutting down as a precaution. The tournament usually attracts top international talent but not in 2020 due to COVID-19.

The tournament required all players to download COVID Alert as a precaution, which organizer Gerry Guests said was to add an “extra layer of security for the players.”

“While no player has tested positive, we did receive an alert on their COVID Alert app that they had been in contact with a positive case,” said Guerts in a statement, adding “Under protocols, this player will self-isolate, and the entire team will receive a test to ensure there was no spread.”

No details were released on the timing of the notification, but prominent names in curling including 2014 Olympic champion Brad Jacobs, were scheduled to play on Sunday in semifinal and consolation finals.

“It’s sad that we’re not going to see a good men’s final today but better safe than sorry,” said sponsor Stu Sankey. “And that’s why we have the protocols in place so we can get a jump on it. I think it’s the right call.”

COVID-19 protocols at the tournament included increased sanitization efforts and social distancing, with modified play to only allow one player to sweep when following a rock down the ice.

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 from their provincial health authority.

COVID Alert for iOS and Android has been downloaded over 3.1 million times and P.E.I. and Nova Scotia will join Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador in supporting COVID Alert.

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