Technology is playing a part in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our region. The COVID Alert app will let you know if you are at risk of being exposed to the COVID-19 virus but just as important, it also does so by respecting your privacy. It performs its task without collecting any personal information or providing the government (or anyone else) with location information.
COVID Alert app is free and was developed in partnership between the federal government and provincial government. The COVID Alert app will notify you if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The app utilizes Bluetooth technology to send and receive randomized codes to other phones that also have the app when they are nearby. The app runs in the background and uses minimal data and battery power.
If the app detects that you have been within two meters of a user who has tested positive for COVID-19, for more than 15 minutes, the minimum exposure for potential transmission, within the past two weeks, a notification will appear on your phone. The app will then provide you with the latest public health advice and resources and advise you to get tested at the nearest assessment centre and then self-isolate pending results.
If a person tests positive for the virus, they are given a key code to input into the app. Once the key code is inputted, anyone that was identified as being potentially exposed over the prior 14 days receives a notification that this has occurred and they should consider testing and/or self-isolating.
Note that the notification contains no personal information. You will not be able to determine the identity of the person they were in contact with, or the time, location or place of the exposure. As well, the app is not able to tell if personal protective equipment (PPE) was worn by either party during the exposure.
If you require testing in the Mattawa area, contact the Assessment Centre located at the Hôpital de Mattawa Hospital. Appointments can be made by calling the Hospital Registration Department at 705-744-5511 extension 0. The Assessment Centre days of operation have been expanded to seven days per week in order to accommodate the recent increased demand for testing.
The COVID Alert app is free and can be downloaded to your iPhone from the App Store and to your Android phone from Google Play. The app does not collect or share the identity, personal information or location of any user. The app does not use GPS or track location data. The app exchanges randomized codes using Bluetooth and those codes are automatically destroyed after 14 days.
Early identification of potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus will greatly reduce the amount of unintentional spread throughout our community. The COVID Alert app is technology that can help you and others around you minimize exposure risk without giving up your personal information or location.
In the meantime, the best way of preventing the spread of COVID-19 is by continuing to wear a mask, washing your hands often and maintaining social distancing.
We are all in this together, Mattawa!
For more information about the COVID Alert app, go to ontario.ca/covidalert.