Federal COVID-19 Alert App coming to Manitoba
A Canadian smartphone app released Friday July 31, 2020 meant to warn users if they've been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 is seen Friday, July 31, 2020 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba will be able to use the federal government's COVID Alert app starting next week.
Health Minister Cameron Friesen made the announcement at a news conference on Monday afternoon.
"I believe in Manitoba, it's determined to come online this week," he said, "So, we'll have more to say in just a few days."
The COVID Alert app compiles data and issues a notification to the user if they've been in proximity with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Friesen stressed that the app does not use GPS and the government does not take any location data.
"With this app, then if you contract COVID-19, it is still voluntary to enter that one time code into the app," said Friesen, while explaining how it worked.
So far, the app is only being used in Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
"To make it available and compliant in Manitoba, it had to interface with our health systems," said Friesen. "That work has gone on behind the scenes as we said it was going on."
Though only working in four provinces, the app can be downloaded by all Canadians with Apple or Android devices.
"Now is the time to download that COVID Alert app and later that week we'll be turning it on and letting have an effect," said Friesen.
He noted that at least 60 per cent of Manitobans would need to download the app to be effective.
"If 20 per cent of Manitobans download this app, it's not going to have any effect," he said.
At the beginning of September, Health Canada told CTV News 2.2 million people downloaded the COVID Alert in its first month, only about 6 per cent of Canadians.
-With files from CTV's Jonathan Forani and Charles Lefebvre