Only five percent of people with COVID-19 given one-time key to enter into COVID Alert: report

The government says it will work to ensure all COVID Alert users who are diagnosed with the virus receive a key

COVID Alert app on iOS

A new report from the COVID Alert Advisory Council reveals that only five percent of people who tested positive for the virus were given a key to upload their results to the app.

The report states that although the app has been downloaded more than 6.3 million times since its launch in July 2020, only 20,000 people have uploaded a one-time key to notify others of their positive results.

Statistics show that if a person does receive a one-time key, they will upload it to the app 80 percent of the time.

“We will continue to work urgently with provinces and territories to ensure that all COVID Alert users who are diagnosed with COVID-19 receive a one-time key,” said Health Minister Patty Hajdu in a statement in response to the findings.

The council’s report notes that another factor hindering the app’s success is the fact that it’s not widely available across the country. The report encourages the provincial governments of Alberta, B.C., Yukon and Nunavut to adopt the app.

“We therefore urge the Government of Canada and its partners across provinces and territories to continue to expand the availability of COVID Alert to residents so that they may benefit and protect others,” the report states.

Further, the council is asking the federal government to update the app to make it available in more languages. The report notes that outside of Canada, the majority of exposure notification apps are available in non-official national languages.

“The council advises that the Government of Canada investigate rolling out support for additional languages in subsequent updates to the COVID Alert app in order to increase the accessibility and potential uptake with persons who do not primarily converse in either English or French,” the council notes.

Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne has stated that the federal government looks forward to more advice from the council and is calling on all Canadians to download the app.