Mobile app for B.C. in development for COVID-19 contact tracing 

Mobile app for B.C. in development for COVID-19 contact tracing 
WatchYour phone may answer the question about whether or not you've come into contact with someone infected with COVID-19. BC's provincial health officer says work is underway to develop an app for contact tracing. Mary Griffin reports.

With B.C.’s economy set to slowly begin reopening, and people getting out more, keeping track of the COVID-19 virus will be more important than ever.

“We’ve been looking into this a lot.” B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said.

Henry said staff is testing a mobile app that may help people identify when and where they may have been near people carrying the virus.

“We have been trialling some apps to assist in that, particularly to assist when we identify a case and we identify contacts, being able to connect with them,” Henry said.

Alberta launched it’s tracing app last week, along with a video.  “ABTraceTogether is a mobile app to help Albertans prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the province.”

And since then, there have been more than 100,000 downloads.

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced the launch of the app on May 1st.

“In the event someone with the app tests positive for COVID-19, they will be asked to allow contract tracers at Alberta Health Services to use this information to further enhance manual contact tracing,” Hinshaw said.

This software developer says

Sam Mod is the CEO of FreshWorks Studio, which specializes in custom software development.

Mod said there are some there are limitations to the apps and in order for mobile apps to be effective, they have to be running in the foreground. And even more challenging, convincing users to hit download.

“I think the biggest limitation is the ability for the user to download the app. So getting users to download the app in the first place,” Mod said.

Henry says she is not giving up.

“We are absolutely working on this, including with our Provincial Health Services Authority, our IMITS experts, technical experts that here in BC,” Henry said.

There is no date for the launch of any contact tracing app in BC, and Alberta remains the only province with its own app.

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