More calls for Alberta to adopt federal COVID-19 contact tracing app
EDMONTON -- An Alberta emergency room doctor is among the experts calling on the province to adopt the federal COVID-19 tracing app in favour of the current provincial one.
The calls come amid increasing cases as the province has broken its active case count record for 16 consecutive days ahead of Wednesday data release.
"Forty to 60 per cent of new COVID cases can't be traced back to an originating source," said Dr. Joe Vipond, an emergency room doctor in Calgary and co-founder of Masks4Canada.
"With the uptake we really need millions of people using one of the apps."
The federal app works by notifying a user when he or she has been in close contact with another app user who tested positive for the virus.
Neither the federal or provincial app tracks individual user's locations, and instead use Bluetooth to exchange codes sent from the app with nearby phones.
"This offers our system another option as to figure out where those cases are coming from," said Vipond.
Alberta and British Columbia are the only two provinces that have not signed on to the federal app.
Last week, Alberta's health minister said the federal contact tracing app would be adopted here, pending assurances the 247-thousand users of the provincial app could be transitioned over.
But, Premier Kenney said a final decision has yet to be made.
ABTraceTogether, Alberta's COVID-19 tracing app, still works and has resolved privacy issues on iPhones.
Vipond says whichever app is used, contact tracing is key to preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
"If they’ve fixed the provincial app I’m totally comfortable with using that but we need to be using something."