How many people are using Alberta's COVID-19 tracing app?
EDMONTON -- Only 19 people with positive COVID-19 cases have used Alberta’s contact tracing app since it launched in May.
A total of 70 close contacts were identified using their uploaded data.
According to the province, ABTraceTogether has approximately 268,000 registered users.
The province has refused to adopt the federal exposure notification app, which has millions of users.
Eric Kryski, a developer from Calgary, has been looking into both apps.
“For a government that’s been kind of heralding cost-cutting, they have vastly overpaid for what they got so far.”
The province has spent around $650,000 on ABTraceTogether, about $34,000 per positive case.
Kryski says the initial issues with the provincial app have been resolved, but that in his opinon, the federal app is still better.
“We should be adopting that,” Kryski told CTV News Edmonton. “Having a siloed data environment as opposed to a national tracing strategy, when it's clear people are going across provincial borders, in my opinion only makes more sense.”
Alberta’s health minister, Tyler Shandro, insisted the app does work and called it “appalling” that people would say otherwise. Shandro also said the app will improve if more Albertans sign up.
“The premier blames Albertans for going to work while infectious, but it's his fault they don't know they've been exposed,” said Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley.
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says each person who tests positive has 15 close contacts while they are infectious, making contact tracing an essential part of controlling the spread of COVID-19.
With the recent surge of cases, Alberta Health Services cannot keep up with contract tracing so the process has changed.
People can now sign up for a new online tool to give AHS permission to text their contacts.
“If you receive a text from AHS notifying you that you are a close contact, please note the response options and take the time to respond with the option that matches your situation,” Hinshaw said on Monday. “This is critical to helping AHS prioritize phone calls where they matter most.”
Alberta reported 860 new infections on Nov. 16 and 20 deaths in the previous 24 hours.
Hinshaw confirmed that Alberta has entered a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.