The NWT is now among the Canadian jurisdictions covered by the Covid Alert contact tracing app.
Premier Caroline Cochrane and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Thursday that the territory would be joining Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador where the app is already available for download.
“Our biggest priority is protecting the health and well-being of our residents and communities,” Cochrane said in a news release. “As cases continue to rise across the country, the Covid Alert app will help limit the spread of the virus in the Northwest Territories and provide comfort and peace of mind to residents as we continue to navigate this difficult time. I strongly encourage all residents to download the app.”
The technology works by sending out randomly-generated codes to other nearby smartphones that have the app installed.
A user who tests positive for Covid receives a one-time key from their health authority to enter into the app. Other users who have been within two metres of that individual are then notified and directed on next steps.
The news release states that all data provided to the free app is securely stored and protected based on a security assessment from the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security and BlackBerry.
As cases continue to rise across the country, the app serves as another tool to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
In the last seven days alone there have been 36,357 new cases across Canada.
The NWT is the only province or territory to not have reported any new Covid cases in that time. The territory has seen a total of 15 positive test results since the pandemic began. All have recovered. There are still 38 tests pending in the NWT as of Nov. 25.
On both sides of the NWT, the other territories have reported a rise in cases with 14 more positive test results in Yukon over the past week, and 85 in Nunavut.
All three provinces bordering the territory to the south have seen thousands of new cases in the last seven days alone. Alberta’s staggering 9,109 new cases is exceeded only by the 9,721 in Ontario, which has a much larger population.
The more users that download the app, the more effective a tool it is for contact tracing. Since its launch, there have been more than 5.5 million downloads across Canada.