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Public Health Officers Encourage Nova Scots to Download COVID Warning App, Use It Properly

Of the Central Government COVID warning application Available in Nova Scotia for more than a month, and according to the provincial public health authority, it has been used successfully by some users who have tested positive for the corona virus novel.

On Friday, the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) confirmed that 11 of its 11 Covid-19 patients had downloaded a smartphone application that required users to enter a unique, one-time key code provided by public health officials.

That key code is required so the app can notify other users who have been in close contact and must be used within 24 hours.

Six of the NSHA’s COVID-19 patients entered their key codes and five did not.

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“It’s really a personal choice, they may have had more stress in their lives at the time, they may have missed 24 hours and the window – getting a Govt positive test is definitely stressful,” explained NSHA Health Care Manager Lori McRacan. Truro, N.S.

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Those patients traveled and initially registered for use in other provinces, so NSHA codes could not be accounted for.

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Because the data is anonymous, it is not possible to determine how many Nova Scots downloaded the app. However, until November 19th Health Canada reported 5.3 million Canadians downloaded the entire app, and 5,412 of those users were COVID-19 patients, who once entered keywords.

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Marica Nadeo, director general of Health Canada’s COVID-19 Alert Task Force, said she was unaware of a specific problem because COVID-positive users did not enter their key codes. But he explained that the organization was designed voluntarily relying on public initiative.

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“This is a decision that was made when the app was first introduced, which will give Canadians the ability to realize the contribution of what they own,” he told Global News.

“We look at different ways and evaluate the functionality of the application, and if there are any improvements and considerations, now everything is on the table.”

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Asked if the federal government expects the application to be picked up, Nadeau said “any level of improvement will help.”

Dr. Robert Strong, chief medical officer of Nova Scotia Health, echoed his report at a conference on Friday afternoon, announcing new provisions in the province amid an increase in COVID-19 cases.

“I would encourage anyone to keep the app. If you unfortunately test positive, please upload it,” he said. “But you ‘ve heard me say many times, this is just another tool in our big toolbox.

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McRae encouraged Nova Scots to download the “User Friendly” app, especially as the province begins to see community spread in its second wave.

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He suggested that Nova Scotia could benefit from additional public education initiatives that raise awareness about the application and how it works.

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© 2020 Global News, Chorus Entertainment Inc.