Kenney rejects federal COVID Alert app, lauds provincial version

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The app got off to a rocky start, facing concerns around both privacy and functionality, with that app only working on Apple devices if running in the foreground of an unlocked device.

Kenney said those problems were addressed in a September update, making it fully functional on all platforms.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley criticized the Kenney government for reneging on its plan to sign on with the federal app.

“This is a decision that premier announced would take place, would happen In August, and we’ve heard nothing but excuses since then, including today,” Notley said Friday.

The news comes a day after Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, announced the province’s contact tracing system was unable to keep up with the rate of new COVID-19 cases.

Alberta Health Services is now only notifying contacts of confirmed infections when high-priority settings like schools, continuing-care centres or hospitals are impacted, with Albertans expected to notify their own close contacts otherwise. The change is expected to last until more trackers can be hired and trained.

Kenney said AHS currently has 800 full- and part-time contact tracing staff. He said the province plans to hire an additional 380 staff “as quickly as possible.”

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Twitter: @jasonfherring

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