The COVID Alert app is now available to download onto smartphones.
The COVID Alert app comes as much of the province is now in Stage 3 of reopening and is meant to assist with contact tracing and providing people an opportunity to self-isolate to get tested if they have come in contact with someone who has tested positive. "It's completely voluntary to download and to use, and it doesn't collect your name, your address, your geolocation, or any other personal information". COVID Alert takes advantage of Apple and Google's privacy-focused Exposure Notification API to alert people when they've come into contact with someone who has the coronavirus. "It was developed in consultation with the privacy commissioners of Ontario and Canada to ensure the highest level of privacy". The app puts the onus on positive cases to enter in the code they receive from public health, rather than having the health authorities report that data on their behalf. "Learn more about what to do next", reads the example of a push notification users would receive.
A message will then be sent to other app users who have been within two metres of them for at least 15 minutes within the past 14 days, without sending any information that identifies the user, or the time and place of exposure.
"No one will know who you are or where you have been", says the federal government in a new promotional video. "Contact tracing will continue to be performed manually by local public health authorities", the government said in a statement.
Ahead of this long weekend, it's important for folks to download COVID Alert and please keep following the public health advice. "I will use it".
"Built with a privacy-first approach, COVID Alert is a safe and easy-to-use tool that Ontarians can download to protect themselves, their loved ones and their community from COVID-19", said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
The COVID Alert app is available on the Apple Store and Google Play for free.
A previous version of this article said Shopify designed the app in partnership with Blackberry.