Alberta’s COVID-19 contact tracing app has only been used to track exposures 19 times since it was launched in May.
Zoe Cooper, a spokesperson for Alberta Heath, confirmed Tuesday morning that to date, there have been 19 cases where an Albertan who tested positive for COVID-19 uploaded data via the ABTraceTogether app, which was then used to identify 70 close contacts.
“There are approximately 268,000 registered users of ABTraceTogether. The work of contact tracing is vital in identifying and containing the virus and to better protect the population,” she said.
“The more Albertans who download ABTraceTogether, the more effective it will be in helping limit the spread of COVID-19 in our province. We need each Albertan to do their part.”
Alberta was originally planning to switch to the federal COVID Alert tracing app, but Premier Jason Kenney has since backed away from that plan claiming that Alberta’s app is better because it is connected to the province’s contact tracers.
Contact tracers have become so overwhelmed with the rising number of cases that the province recently stopped tracing except for cases in high-priority settings such as long-term care and healthcare facilities and schools. Health Minister Tyler Shandro said last week the government recently posted 425 job openings for contact tracers and hopes to have more than 1,100 working “within a few weeks.”
On Monday, Alberta announced 860 new COVID-19 cases. About seven per cent of tests done in the province are coming back positive.
More to come.