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Canada Alberta must move ahead with federal COVID tracing app, advocacy group says

06:05  29 october  2020
06:05  29 october  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

Just 5% of Ontario coronavirus cases used COVID Alert app to report infection

  Just 5% of Ontario coronavirus cases used COVID Alert app to report infection Only a fraction of Ontario's COVID-19 cases have used the national COVID Alert app to report their infections, hampering the app's effectiveness in slowing the second wave of the pandemic in the province. Figures provided by the provincial government show COVID Alert users have reported 1,354 cases through the app since its launch on July 31. Given that Ontario has had more than 25,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since then, this means roughlyFigures provided by the provincial government show COVID Alert users have reported 1,354 cases through the app since its launch on July 31.

Alberta ’s Official Opposition said Tuesday that the provincial government must “do more” as COVID -19 cases continue to climb in Edmonton and Calgary. There are currently 4,477 active cases in the province; of those, there are 1,549 in the Calgary zone and the Edmonton zone has 2,179.

Alberta 's COVID -19 tracing application , ABTraceTogether, has flaws that make it awkward to use on Apple devices, but it is still a valuable tool to fight the pandemic, some experts say . ABTraceTogether uses Bluetooth technology to track users and will send a notification if a user may have come into

A group of doctors and concerned citizens is calling on the provincial government to immediately adopt the federal COVID-19 tracing app.

Masks4Canada says Alberta's case numbers are rising at an alarming rate, and while the group welcomes new limits on social gatherings — announced for Calgary and Edmonton earlier this week — it believes the province needs to do more.

"Forty per cent of people who've acquired COVID recently, we don't know where they've acquired it from," said Dr. Tehseen Ladha, a pediatrician specializing in public health at the University of Alberta.

"And so having something like the federal app, which would allow people to be notified if they've been in the proximity of someone who has COVID, would be a very effective way to contact trace, and it would address some of our capacity issues with contact tracing."

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Learn about Alberta 's COVID -19 response and what is being done to protect Albertans and help prevent the spread. Help prevent the spread of COVID -19 with the ABTraceTogether mobile app . Alberta Biz Connect. Workplace guidance and supports to help businesses and non-profits affected

Key points The Federal Government says the app will help trace the coronavirus spread in Australia Concerns are raised that Australians' data will be hosted by US tech giant Amazon The app is designed to help identify with whom a COVID -19 positive person has met while

Province says it is seeking a smooth transition

Speaking Wednesday, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said the province will end up adopting the federal app.

Shandro said the province wants to ensure it does not lose the 247,000 users who have downloaded Alberta's ABTraceTogether app.

"The issue right now is to be able to talk to the federal government about how those 247,000 people can be transitioned to the federal government's app," he said.

"I want to make sure there's a transition that's smooth and has the smallest bleed of users."

a man wearing a suit and tie: Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro says the province will adopt the federal government's COVID-19 tracing app but wants to ensure it doesn't 'bleed' the 247,000 users currently using the Alberta app. © CBC News Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro says the province will adopt the federal government's COVID-19 tracing app but wants to ensure it doesn't 'bleed' the 247,000 users currently using the Alberta app.

Alberta and British Columbia are the only provinces that have yet to sign on to the federal app.

UCP closes out AGM with questions from members in 'bearpit' session

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Community privacy concerns force the Federal Government to insist a coronavirus tracing app will Minister Stuart Robert insists the app will not track people's location. The app will record names, ages Dr Marion Kainer says contact- tracing apps will help control the spread of COVID -19 quicker.

The Covidsafe tracking app is part of the government’s strategy to identify, trace and isolate as it looks at life beyond physical distance restrictions.

The province set new records for the number of active cases on both Monday and Tuesday this week, with the total now sitting at 4,738.

'Let's get something in place'

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and the chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, Tom Sampson, also called on the province to get on with activating that federal government's app.

"We know the provincial app doesn't work properly on most devices and nobody is using it, at all," Nenshi said as he and Sampson held a media briefing Wednesday about the new restrictions introduced this week by the province.

"Let's get something in place."

Alberta Health has said it is working with Ottawa to sort out how to transition users from the province's tracing app to the national one.

Meanwhile, Masks4Canada said in a release that it believes a 15-person limit on social gatherings is still too large.

"New cases announced today reflect public health measures in place two weeks ago. Therefore rapid, proactive public measures are imperative," the release said.

Historic Alberta coal community wrestles with plans for new mining

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Downloading the app is voluntary but the Government has previously said 40 per cent of Australians Labor's health spokesman Chris Bowen, who has downloaded the app , said he accepted the Will COVIDSafe work on iPhone? Want the Government's new COVID -19 tracing app to work properly?

An app made with Apple and Google's help could help end coronavirus lockdowns in the UK. Apple and Google have said they’re working together on COVID -19 contact tracing , and that might just include collaboration with specific healthcare providers.

Other recommendations

The group made several other recommendations — including moving to a provincewide mask mandate and officially acknowledging there is evidence of airborne spread of the virus.

Ladha says she is concerned the virus is being allowed to spread in overly crowded environments such as restaurants and gyms.

"We're not proposing a full lockdown, but we feel that if we don't implement some mandatory measures immediately, then we're headed to a place where a more severe lockdown would be needed," she said.

Dr. Joe Vipond, an ER physician in Calgary and a co-founder of Masks4Canada, said the contact tracing system in Alberta needs help.

"We're not hearing any reports of successes from the government and so we need to look at other options," he said. "Really, this is the only other option that's out there right now."

Nenshi said he heard in question period that some ministers were mocking the federal app as "[Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau's app."

"Stop it. We don't need that kind of partisanship here," he said. "We gotta keep people safe and I just hope we go ahead and sign off on it as soon as possible."

Chrystia Freeland in self-isolation following COVID-19 app exposure notification .
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland revealed on Twitter Saturday that she has been tested for COVID-19 and is isolating at home after receiving an exposure notification from Canada's COVID Alert app. Freeland's office would not provide further details but reiterated that she would remain in isolation until she receives the results of her test. In a follow-up tweet, Freeland encouraged Canadians to make use of the exposure notification app, which allows people to report a positive test result.

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