Canada’s COVID-19 exposure notification app is now available in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The debut was teased yesterday in a press release and today marks the official launch of COVID Alert support in Newfoundland and Labrador, allowing residents to report a positive diagnosis anonymously within the app, by getting a one-time key from health authorities.
“The COVID Alert app is a tool that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians 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 outbreaks. We will continue to work with other provinces and territories so as many Canadians as possible can benefit from the app,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a statement.
COVID Alert has been downloaded 2.2 million times since launching in late July in Ontario but so far only 112 people have voluntarily reported their COVID-19 diagnosis using one-time keys from health authorities.
“Launching COVID Alert today for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians means there is an important new tool in the toolbox when it comes to living with COVID-19. A lot of thought and work has gone into its development, and I’d like to thank everyone for their dedication,” said Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Here’s how the federal government explains COVID Alert:
When a user downloads the app, their phone sends out randomly generated codes via Bluetooth to other smartphone users who have the app and are within approximately two metres. If they test positive for the virus, users can choose to upload their random codes to a central server located in Canada. Once uploaded, the random codes are stored on the server for 15 days, after which they are automatically deleted.
The open source app does not use GPS or collect any user information, while it has also been vetted and supported by federal and provincial privacy commissioners. COVID Alert is based on the Exposure Notification framework from Apple and Google.
Yesterday, Saskatchewan announced it would support COVID Alert in a couple week’s time, with support likely to come later in September. Alberta is set to transition over to COVID Alert soon, while B.C., Manitoba and Quebec remain undecided about the app.