The federal government has partnered with Canada’s wireless carriers to encourage people in Ontario to download the COVID Alert exposure notification app for iOS and Android.
This afternoon, the following text message was sent out today:
Msg on behalf of the government of Canada: Help protect yourself and your community. Download the COVID Alert app for free to stop spread of the virus. The COVID Alert app lets users know if they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Available now in App Store and Google Play. For more information contact 1 833 784-4397.
According to CBC News yesterday, a spokesperson for the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, confirmed Rogers, Telus and Bell were working with the federal government to text those in Ontario over the weekend to download COVID Alert.
Bell’s website also posted an update on August 4, saying “the COVID Alert app is now available”.
COVID Alert for iOS and Android works using Apple and Google’s Exposure Notification API, allowing for Bluetooth to work in the system background, to have anonymous “handshakes” with nearby phones. The app does not use GPS and does not know your location and has been vetted and supported by federal and provincial privacy commissioners.
When someone tests positive for COVID-19, they get a token from their local health authority to enter into COVID Alert, if they wish to do so. Once this is done, people who have been potentially exposed to coronavirus (deemed a 15 minute window within 2 metres distance), will be notified to get tested or self-quarantine.
COVID Alert launched on Friday in Ontario but is available nationwide. The app has so far reached over 1.1 million downloads.
With today’s release of iOS 14 beta 4, COVID Alert now works for those testing out Apple’s latest software beta, as the Exposure Notification API was enabled in the release.
Did you get this text message in Ontario? When did you receive it?