October 30, 2020 – Ottawa, ON – Health Canada
Over the past months, Canadians have been following public health advice and doing their part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. As we continue to deal with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, we need to work together to contain the virus.
Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Digital Government, announced that the COVID Alert app has been updated to send notifications based on a more precise timeline. With this update, users who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have entered a one-time key from their respective public health authority will now have the option to enter the date of their symptom onset or their testing date. This will provide a better estimation of the period when they may have been most infectious to others.
Importantly, the COVID Alert app can now notify users of potential exposure to cases during the time period when the people who tested positive were most infectious. This will align more closely with current public health guidance, as individuals are likely to be most infectious from two days prior to symptom onset for symptomatic individuals.
COVID Alert continues to protect your privacy. These new features are optional. Any information users provide about their symptom onset and testing date will stay on their phone and will not be shared. Canadians can still input their one-time key without sharing any additional information about symptom onset or testing date if they prefer. In that case, notifications will continue to be sent to other users who are close contacts from 14 days prior to the one-time key being entered.