The federal government’s COVID Alert app issued over 61,500 exposure notifications in April and May, which led to at least 572 cases being identified.
A spokesperson from Health Canada told MobileSyrup in an email that this data comes from in-app metrics. The agency notes that data from smartphone users who have not yet updated to the version of COVID Alert that includes in-app metrics is not captured.
The collection of this data was made possible through an update to COVID Alert in February that allowed the app to gather metrics to evaluate the app’s effectiveness.
The update allows the app to collect metrics on the number of active users and downloads, the number of exposure notifications sent and the number of users who enter a one-time key after receiving a notification.
As of June 8th, COVID Alert has been downloaded over 6,564,041 times. Further, 33,690 one-time keys have been entered to trigger notifications to app users since the app’s launch.
Further updates in the works
When asked if the government plans to roll out any further updates to the app, the spokesperson stated that new functionalities are in development to further maximize the benefits of the app and increase uptake and use of the app as the economy reopens.
Earlier this year, the COVID Alert Advisory Council asked the federal government to update the app to make it available in more languages.
The spokesperson noted that “the government is considering translating the app into additional languages to help Canadians whose first language is not English or French to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities against COVID-19.”
It’s been over 10 months since the app first launched in July 2020. COVID Alert is currently fully functional in nine provinces and territories. Although COVID Alert can be downloaded across the country, regions that haven’t opted into the app don’t provide one-time verification keys with positive tests, which are integral to how COVID Alert operates.
The Canadian Digital Service urges users to open COVID Alert at least once a day to ensure that it’s working, as some phones will put the app to sleep, which stops it from effectively running background exposure checks.