Alberta premier rejects federal COVID Alert exposure notification app

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has rejected the federal government’s COVID Alert exposure notification app.

Kenney is encouraging Albertans to download the province’s own ABTraceTogether app. He stated that the province no longer plans to sign onto the COVID Alert app because ABTraceToegther is more useful in stopping the spread of the virus.

“This has nothing to do with one being federal or one being provincial. ABTraceTogether is, in our view, simply a better and more effective public-health tool,” Kenney told reporters on November 6th.

“Alberta will not currently adopt the federal COVID Alert app because a condition of doing so would be turning off the ABTraceTogether app, which is a key part of our contact tracing system.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently stated that the Alberta government was blocking COVID Alert from being used in the province.

For context, COVID Alert notifies users if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus, while ABTraceTogether collects data that is used by contact tracers. The federal government has repeatedly stated that COVID Alert is not a contract tracing app, which is why Kenney says the province will not be using it.

COVID Alert is currently fully functional in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island.

The app can be downloaded everywhere, but other regions don’t provide one-time verification keys with positive tests, which are integral to how COVID Alert operates.

Other than Alberta, British Columbia is the only other province that hasn’t signed onto the app. The B.C. provincial government has stated that COVID Alert is very “non-specific” and that it won’t adopt the app until some changes are made.

Source: Calgary Herald