Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urges Canadians living in Alberta and BC to download the Central Province Govt-19 warning app, despite a shortage of purchases from health officials in those provinces.
The two western provinces are the last reserves to start using the app, which was launched in July and has detected thousands of positive COVID-19 tests.
Speaking to reporters outside Ryto Hall on Friday morning, Trudeau said 25 percent of Canadians with smartphones in the provinces where the application operates have downloaded it.
“We’re on track to make a difference with this app. Every app tells people they need to be careful, which is an addition to communication tracking … it’s catch people you don’t even know you’ve in contact with,” he said.
Users in areas where the application is not in use will see the message that no data is available when they open the application. But Trudeau said it could still provide some protection, citing a person in Alberta coming into close contact with someone who tests positive when returning to Saskatchewan.
“It may work even if your health is not fully on board. It’s free, it’s completely protecting your privacy, and it’s an additional tool. We need to keep all the tools we have safe at that time,” Trudeau said.
“I still hope that local health systems will integrate a system where a system code will allow people to insert diagnoses into the system to alert them.”
Provinces reluctant to log in
COVID Alert is designed to provide exposure notifications to all users who have been in close contact with the victim for the past 14 days, but does not provide time or location of potential exposure.
On Wednesday, Alberta’s health minister Tyler Shantro defended the state’s own COVID – 19 tracking app, ABTraceTogether, which has only detected 20 cases since spring, despite revelations.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, PC’s provincial health officer, said the federal application in October “BC.
“There are some parameters that they have created in the federal application that do not work for us and we hope it will cause more concern and frustration as we have seen in some other provinces,” he said.
The application has been updated so that users who test positive for COVID-19 can enter the time when their symptoms started or the day they were tested, thus giving them the opportunity to better estimate the period at which they were at risk.
Two days before the onset of symptoms, Health Canada reports that the changes are very closely linked to the public health guidelines because symptomatic individuals are highly contagious. New features are optional and additional data will not be shared with the government or anyone else.
New modeling by the Public Health Organization of Canada (PHAC) shows that the number of COVID-19 cases could reach 60,000 a day by the end of December if Canadians increase their current level of contact with others.