New COVID-19 notification app rolls out in Ontario

Canada's COVID Alert App

Ontario is the first to test out the app and if all goes well, it will roll out across Canada.

"I've downloaded the app this morning, and I encourage you to do the same". When that code is entered into the app, it will notify other users who may have come into close contact with that person in the previous 14 days and provide them with guidance on what they should do next.

The initial rollout is only in Ontario now but officials are encouraging Canadians across the country to download the app in anticipation of more provincial and territorial health authorities signing on to use the new software.

As Ontarians continue to do their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario government is encouraging everyone to download the new COVID Alert app on their smart phone from the Apple and Google Play app stores. In the meantime, however, Burke says that even with location services turned off, no app that uses the ENS will actually be able to see or receive any location data.

Alphabet Inc's Google said on Friday that 20 USA states and territories, representing about 45% of the country's population, are "exploring" contact tracing apps for the novel coronavirus using a tool it developed with Apple Inc. The more people who use it, the better it can trace, and therefore slow, the spread of the virus. The government describes it as an exposure notification app - not a contact-tracing app - as it does not track personal data.

The app works by assigning a random code to a users device and pings other users devices within a 10-metre radius through Bluetooth.

"We expect they'll be coming on board soon as well".

The ENS API now supports exposure notifications between countries, which Burke says is a feature added based on nations that have already launched apps based on the tech (that includes Canada, as of today, as well as some European nations).

If an app user receives a message from COVID Alert that they may have been exposed to the virus, they should follow the public health advice given on the app and get tested. It has also bee backed by the federal government.



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