Some thoughts to consider about the Covid Alert app which is available from the Government of Canada. . . . .
I think I am a good citizen, and I try to help others where I can.
I installed and used the federally sponsored government Covid Alert App developed by reputable sources and encouraged quicker contact tracing.
Being a good citizen, I used the App diligently as I checked for exposure each time I returned from a short errand. I felt that I was doing my small part for the community.
Almost two weeks ago, a red alert popped up on the App. I had no idea what I was supposed to do as I saw no guidelines on the limited literature, I read on it.
I opened the App, but the message was “No Exposure Detected.” I went to two pharmacists for their opinions, but neither knew how to follow up on a red alert. One of them suggested that I delete the App altogether and re-install it and see what happens. As soon as the new App was re-installed, the red alert re-appeared. I was stumped!
I then spoke to a government agent at CovidAlert.ca who, again, could not explain to me the discrepancy between the message of no exposure and the red alert. He didn’t know how to remove the red alert symbol if I had no exposure. He then directed my call to a government helpline, which turned out to be a very slow-moving process, but again, with no answers.
My next call was to the Durham Health Connection, where their communication left me with more questions than answers. They, again, could not help my dilemma. I had to move on.
My last call went out to Telehealth Ontario. There I spoke with a knowledgeable doctor who gave me the most relevant and relatable answers. My relief was palpable. What am I going to learn?
Well, a red alert on the Covid App sometimes, but not always, will generate the following message.
“You’ve been exposed in the last fourteen days for fifteen minutes to someone who in turn was exposed for fifteen minutes. You are at risk of being infected.” Or the other message may be;
“You have been exposed to someone who reported having Covid-19 and entered a code through the App. Learn more about what to do next.”
My message was, “You have not been exposed. But I still had the red alert.”
Telehealth explained that a red alert on a Covid App indicates that I may have been nearby but outside of the recommended six feet of someone with diagnosed Covid. Infection, therefore, is low. Nevertheless, a fourteen-day quarantine is only to be cautious and to self-monitor for symptoms. If one or more symptoms crop up, a Covid test should follow.
I could still be asymptomatic. The red alert will automatically disappear after the fourteenth day of quarantine. At the time of this writing, I am on my ninth day of quarantine, with no symptoms and no illness. Speculation is from Telehealth that I was remotely exposed with little chance of infection.
To date, in Ontario, 6.2 million out of 14 million people installed Covid Alert App. But only 12,809 Apps alerted others of having been exposed. I think the communication of agencies generates a lot of chaos in the application. Therefore, many Ontarians don’t care for Big Brother looking over their shoulders, nor do they wish to install the App.
I did my part in being a good citizen. I received an alert, investigated it, followed up on the guidelines and did not infect others. An App is a useful tool for contract tracing, but in the end, it has its limitations.
Just my Opinion