It wasn’t too long ago we were writing on the beta for COVID Alert. Today, Ontario went live as the first testing province. Those with smartphones are encouraged to download the app from the appropriate app store.
The premise of the app is straight forward. Log on to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and download the app. When you log in it will take you through a setup sequence. Language, Privacy reminders, and a brief summary are all part of the initial log in process. There is a screen that will explain the random IDs and how they work. After that, you chose the province in which you live. It is important to note that, at this time, only Ontario users can send the one time key for testing positive. At the end of set-up, it will ask you to enable the app in your security settings.
Download it even if you are not in Ontario
The first province to test this is Ontario. However, even if you live in another province you are encouraged to download the app. Although other provinces do not have access to the one time keys to confirm a positive test, users in those provinces can still exchange random IDs. Once the positive test functionality launches in the other provinces, users will instantly be alerted if they’ve come into contact with someone who has tested positive. With the IDs being exchanged the data will be kept for 15 days.
Facts on the App:
- Information collected by the app isn’t shared without your permission
- Developed in Ontario by Shopify and Blackberry
- Data is kept only for a 15 day period
- If you test positive, you are given a one-time key. Reporting a positive test within the app is completely voluntary.
- If you receive a notification that someone has tested positive, you will receive next steps through the app
- If you receive an alert that you’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive, there is no way to access their identity
- If you decide to delete the app, the random codes will be deleted in 15 days
Not All Phones Work
There are some challenges with phone compatibility. iPhone users will need to install iOS 13.5 in order to use the app. This means that anyone with an iPhone 6 or older won’t be able to use it. Also, those who are beta testing the new iOS 14 may have some difficulty getting it to work. On the Android side, you’ll need to have a device running Android 6.0 or newer.
This is a very positive move for us as a country for both health and tech reasons. This was a joint venture by Apple and Google to put the framework together in order to make this happen. It’s important we all play our part to help eradicate this virus.