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Province announces app to track COVID-19 contact tracing among Albertans
The province of Alberta is conducting trials on a new contact tracing app they say will help health officials. (File)
EDMONTON -- The province is taking steps to track and identify all cases of COVID-19 in Alberta and asking for your help to do it.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced progress on a new app designed to help with recording contact tracing connected to positive cases of the coronavirus. She says an app like this is a useful tool when it comes to combatting the virus.
"We must identify all cases, as soon as possible. Identify all locations where spread may be occurring and put measures in place to stop that spread in all those locations," Hinshaw said during Thursday's COVID-19 update.
The mobile app, which is still a few weeks away from public release, is a completely voluntary option for Albertans to help with contact tracing work conducted by health officials.
"Albertans will have a choice about whether to download the app, and all information collected is stored within people's personal phones, not with the government. This app uses Bluetooth to note if you came into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The app does not track Albertans' geographic locations. The benefit of this app is in speeding up information gathering to support the contact tracing work that our public health workers are already doing."
Hinshaw added there is no risk to Albertans' privacy through this app and they are keeping in contact with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta at all stages of development.
"No concerns have been raised. We expect it will be available to all Albertans in the coming weeks."
Jill Clayton, Alberta's information and privacy commissioner, says she will be closely watching what details the new app will record.
"Knowing in plain language what types of personal information may be collected, how that information will be used and in what circumstances it will be disclosed will assist people in choosing to opt-in to using the app," she wrote in a statement.
New deaths connected to Brooks facility
Hinshaw announced 319 new cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours during her daily update Thursday along with two new deaths.
Sixty-eight people have died from complications of COVID-19 but 1,357 people have since recovered from the illness.
There have been 3,720 cases recorded in Alberta during the pandemic.