COVID Alert's impact so far
Why download covid Alert
Along with physical distancing, wearing a mask and other important steps, knowing what to do if you have been exposed to covid 19 (coronavirus) is another key way to protect yourself and your community.
But how do you know if you’ve been exposed to covid 19? And, if you get sick, how can you make sure even strangers you’ve been near take the right steps to protect themselves and others? That’s where covid Alert comes in.
- get a notification if you may have been exposed to covid 19
- get advice on what to do next
- tell app users you've been nearby if you test positive for covid 19, without sharing any personal information
- collect, store or access any personal data, or health information
- tell you if you’re currently near someone who’s tested positive
- tell you about outbreaks in your city or neighbourhood
covid Alert is completely voluntary. You choose to download, use or delete it. The more people who use it, the more effective it will be in helping to protect each other and our communities.
Your privacy is important
covid Alert does not use GPS and will never request location permissions.
covid Alert does not know your name, phone number or any other contact information.
Even if you choose to share that you’ve tested positive, covid Alert doesn't share any information that can identify you.
If you test positive, it's up to you if you want to share your diagnosis with others. Your identity will stay private.
How it works
As you go about your day, covid Alert runs in the background and:
- uses your smartphone’s built-in Bluetooth function to detect how close you are to other people with the app
- exchanges anonymous codes with other, nearby app users every 5 minutes
- saves the codes on your phone for 14 days
The random codes cannot be used to identify you or your location.
If you test positive, you can use the app to notify others. Here's how:
- Get your unique one-time key from the Test Results Website
- Enter your one-time key into the app
- Give the app details to help narrow down when you were likely most infectious
- Allow your phone to share your random codes, which will notify people you've been near
The app only uses the random codes – it does not collect or share any health information about you.
Every day, when you have an internet connection, covid Alert looks for matches between the random codes on your phone and the random codes of people who have told the app they have tested positive.
Even if it finds matching codes, the app won’t know who they belong to.
If the app finds matching codes, it means that:
- in the past 2 weeks you were within 2 metres of an app user for more than 15 minutes, and that user has since tested positive, or
- you were in contact with a user who has tested positive during the days they were most infectious (usually two days before their symptoms began)
If either of these apply to you, you will get an alert with:
- a message that you may have been exposed to covid 19
- advice on what to do next
Because no personal information or location data is shared, the app will not know where or when you were exposed.
COVID Alert should work on any smartphone released in the last 5 years including:
Get more information or support
Learn more about covid Alert from the Government of Canada:
Get more information about privacy
- While covid Alert does not collect any personal information, it may be collected by websites or other services that covid Alert links to.
- If you have a privacy or security complaint, you can contact Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner.