Manitobans, get ready for COVID Alert to be supported in the province this week.
Health Minister Cameron Friesen told reporters on Monday the province will launch support for Canada’s COVID Alert exposure notification app later this week.
“I would say to Manitobans, now is the time to download that COVID Alert application. You can do that today and later this week we’ll be turning that on and allowing it to have effect,” said Friesen (via CBC News).
The Health Minister reiterated COVID Alert does not rely on GPS and does not know who you are or where you’re going. He urged residents in Manitoba to download COVID Alert ahead of support coming later this week, which will allow those using the app to alert others of potential COVID-19 exposures.
COVID Alert uses the exposure notification framework from Apple and Google. It leverages Bluetooth in the background on iPhones and Android smartphones for anonymous digital “handshakes”. If someone tests positive for COVID-19, they can alert others anonymously within COVID Alert, after obtaining a one-time use key from health authorities.
The voluntary app has been vetted and backed by federal and provincial privacy commissioners as safe and secure to use.
As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Winnipeg, COVID Alert may be yet another tool to help people stay informed or report if they test positive for coronavirus.
Alberta previously said it would switch over to COVID Alert from its plagued ABTraceTogether contact tracing app. B.C. has not confirmed whether it will support the app or not, but given how other provinces are on board, it’s only a matter of time before it also joins, too.
Anyone can download COVID Alert for iOS and Android right now as it will work for getting notified of a potential exposure to COVID-19. You just won’t be able to report a positive COVID-19 test result if your province’s health authority doesn’t support the app.