COVID Alert: PM says fixes coming to improve app's accuracy
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is working to improve the accuracy of its COVID Alert app.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Trudeau said privacy was the top concern in the development of the app but that there’s always room for improvement as the government looks to get the remaining provinces on board.
"We’ve always had to try and find that right balance and what we did was create an app that’s totally private, totally anonymized and totally voluntary by the user," he said.
COVID Alert allows users to disclose a positive coronavirus test and alerts anyone who has come close to that person in the past 14 days via Bluetooth tracking. Public health officials have stressed that it does not track location and has no way of knowing an individual’s location, address, contacts, or health information.
"We are looking at doing a better job of pinpointing moments of exposure and moments of testing so that the app can be even more accurate," said Trudeau.
Alberta and B.C. are the only two provinces that haven’t yet adopted COVID Alert.
B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said there are still provincial needs that haven’t been met with the existing technology.
"There are some adjustments [the federal government] made for Ontario that are helpful for us," she said during a press conference in late September, assuring that the province will integrate the tool with the caveat that "it can meet the needs that we have to supplement what we are doing in our contact tracing here."
Trudeau said he hopes the transition happens soon.
"I really hope that B.C. and Alberta listen to the many British Columbians and Albertans who would love to have this additional tool. It’s not the panacea, it’s not the one thing that’s going to fix everything, but it is another important tool in your toolbox that has prevented thousands of cases across the country."
Nearly five million Canadians have downloaded the app and 2,387 people have entered a positive test result.