COVID Alert App – Do your part and download it today!
September 2, 2020 - Defence Stories
The recently launched COVID Alert app, developed and built by the Government of Canada and available for iOS and Android, is an additional public health preventive tool for all Canadians to use to contribute to limiting the spread of COVID-19 and preventing future outbreaks, as well as protect themselves. As such, military and civilian members of the Defence Team, as well as their friends and families, are strongly encouraged to download and use the app on a voluntary basis. COVID Alert should be installed on one device only, generally the one that you carry with you most frequently. For most members, this will be their personal device, but downloading it to Department of National Defence- and Canadian Armed Forces-issued smartphones is permitted.
COVID Alert complements existing public health preventive measures such as maintaining good hand and respiratory hygiene, respecting physical distancing, and wearing non medical masks or face coverings when physical distancing is not possible. By advising people of possible exposure to COVID-19, the COVID Alert app helps limit the spread of infection and prevent future outbreaks by prompting individuals to self-monitor for symptoms, perhaps get tested and, if they test positive, take measures to ensure they do not spread the virus further. We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19, and COVID Alert is a key way we can all contribute to keeping our communities healthy by helping to limit the spread of infection and preventing future outbreaks.
When a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, they are provided an activation key by a public health authority to enter into their app. This will allow the app to trigger a notification to all users of the app who could be high-risk close contacts of that person. This includes everyone who has been within two metres for more than 15 minutes of the positive case in the past two weeks. If you are notified, this does not necessarily mean you have COVID-19 or need to go into quarantine or isolation, but you should contact your local public health authority for guidance.
If you are not in a location where activation keys are provided, you will not be able to use the app to trigger notifications for others. However, no matter where you are, COVID Alert will still notify you if someone, for whom you were a potential high-risk contact, was diagnosed with COVID-19 and used an activation key themselves.
COVID Alert is built with strong privacy protection and uses Bluetooth to exchange random codes with nearby phones with the app installed. No personal identifying or location information is ever exchanged or made available to anyone. The app has no way of knowing a user’s location, name or address, phone contacts or health information.
COVID Alert does not replace manual contact tracing by local public health authorities, nor medical advice. If you get sick, go home or stay home and contact your doctor or other health-care provider.
The COVID Alert web page provides detailed information on the app, as well as links to download it.
For CAF members
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you will still need to be interviewed by a contact tracer to ensure that everyone who might be at risk is made aware.
Canadian Forces Health Services Group is currently working with the Canadian Digital Service, the federal government’s app developer, to incorporate the issuing of activation keys with our COVID-19 diagnostic process. This process will be finalized in the near future and will be communicated accordingly. In the meantime, CAF members who receive COVID-19 test results from civilian provincial labs could receive activation keys when they are notified of their test result.
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