By now, most of us know how important it is to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19. We’re familiar with public safety recommendations like wearing a mask or face covering and staying two metres apart. But there’s another easy thing that many more of us can do to have a major impact.
Health Canada is recommending that everyone with a compatible smartphone download the new COVID Alert app. It’s a free tool that can notify you of a possible exposure to COVID-19 before symptoms appear. If it notifies you of a possible exposure, you will be linked to your local public health unit’s advice so that you can limit the spread of COVID-19.
The app runs in the background without interrupting your activities. Whenever you’re near someone else who has the app, both phones exchange random codes every five minutes. The codes change often and can’t be used to identify you.
If someone with the app is diagnosed with COVID-19, they can choose to upload the random codes their phone sent. Every day, whenever your phone has an internet connection, it will get a list of the random codes from people who reported a positive diagnosis into the app. If it finds codes that match, the app notifies you that you may have been exposed and explains what to do next.
It’s important to know that the app doesn’t collect any identifiable information about you and has no way of knowing your location, name or address, or the place or time you were near someone.
Downloading the app is easy and works on iPhones and Androids. The more Canadians who install the app, the better we can limit the spread of COVID-19. Find more information at canada.ca/coronavirus