Alberta health minister defends province's COVID-tracing app despite few contacts

Grant Boone
November 19, 2020

"AHS will continue to directly contact all positive cases of COVID-19 to notify them of the result, identify priority contacts whom AHS will notify and provide the case with guidance on notification of their own contacts", the AHS update adds.

Alberta Health says ABTraceTogether has to date identified 70 close contacts in 19 cases.

Alberta and British Columbia remain the only two provinces that have not implemented the federal COVID Alert app.

Tyler Shandro says he will use any resource at his disposal in the fight against the pandemic but he says Alberta won't sign on to the federal tracing app, because it is not tied into the provincial contact tracing system. That means the 19 cases where an Albertan tested positive and uploaded data to the provincial app account for about 0.05 per cent.

"The app here in Alberta, ABTraceTogether, is one of the many tools that we have in the system to be able to help relieve our contact tracers", Shandro told the house during an angry exchange with Opposition Leader Rachel Notley.

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"This is not a provincial versus federal issue", Shandro replied.

"They argue that their broken app is better than the federal app because their broken app automatically links to their broken contact tracing system, and therefore it's better", she said.

Alberta Health reported 773 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, but the province's active sum only saw a slight increase as hundreds of people recovered from the disease.

Compare that to the federal app which has alerted the contacts of about 4,200 people who were diagnosed with the virus. meaning about one alert in every 1,200 downloads. The province has a total of just over 10,000 active infections.

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