The Health Canada COVID Alert app is now available to Manitoba residents and will provide digital COVID-19 exposure alerts once the app is downloaded to a smartphone.
Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen says the app is added protection for Manitobans, "With case numbers currently on the rise, the COVID Alert app is one more tool that people can use to be aware of a possible exposure to COVID-19. The introduction of the app builds on our public health contact tracing efforts to inform people of possible exposures and ensure they are given the advice they need to reduce the spread of the virus."
The national COVID Alert app uses Bluetooth technology to detect when users are near each other. If a user tests positive for COVID-19, they can choose to let other users know about potential exposure risk without sharing any personal information.
Someone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be provided a one-time key from public health when they call to provide test results. By entering the key into the app, it will notify other app users who have been within two metres of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period within the last 14 days. Subscribers who receive this exposure alert can then assess their risk and seek testing, if needed.
The COVID Alert app does not collect personal information or health data, and does not know or track the location, name, address or contacts of any user. All aspects of the app are completely voluntary.
The minister noted the COVID Alert app does not replace contact investigations. People who do not have a smartphone or device that will support the app will still receive notification from public health officials if they have positive test results or are determined to be a close contact of a confirmed case.
The Health Canada COVID Alert app is available at no cost in the Apple and Google Play app store.