NWT can now fully access national CovidAlert app

A screengrab of the CovidAlert app
A screengrab of the CovidAlert app. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

The Northwest Territories is now covered by the federal government’s CovidAlert app, allowing residents to report Covid-19 diagnoses for contact tracing purposes.

The app uses Bluetooth and random codes to check which other phones you’ve been near without exchanging any of your personal information.

If you’ve been near an app user who tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 14 days, you’ll get a notification.

Until now, NWT residents could download the app and use it to receive notifications about coming into contact with people who later tested positive – but people in the NWT couldn’t report their own positive diagnosis.



More: Download the app here

That has now changed, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted on Thursday.

“This just in: If you live in the Northwest Territories, you can now use the CovidAlert app! It’ll help keep you, your loved ones, and your community safe,” Trudeau wrote. “So join the 5.5 million others who’ve already downloaded the app and add it to your phone today.”

NWT health minister Julie Green added on Twitter: “This app does a great job of explaining how privacy is protected so that people are comfortable with using the notification they are Covid-positive.”



Details about the app’s privacy protections are available on this page. It has been vetted by Canada’s privacy commissioner.

Premier Caroline Cochrane said she “strongly encouraged” residents to download the app.

NWT residents who test positive for Covid-19 can request a one-time code from their healthcare provider. Entering the code anonymously notifies app users the person has been near in the past two weeks, to ensure people are aware of their potential exposure.

The NWT is the first territory to have full access to the app, according to the federal government.

The provinces enrolled are Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.