Using the COVID Alert App as a physician

Posted Wednesday September 16, 2020

Posted By: Jeffery Satchwill

Category: General

Download the COVID Alert App

As our province gradually re-opens, more people are out and about in our communities you, your family and your patients may have an increased number of contacts. Everyone is encouraged to stay 2 meters from others and follow all public health guidance. The COVID Alert App has been developed by the federal government in conjunction with the provinces to help alert people when they have been in close proximity to a COVID-19 case.

Ping! You may have been exposed to COVID-19

When the app detects an exposure, get tested! This app does not replace our public health contact tracing, where we call positive cases and ask them to list their contacts for us to connect with. When someone tests positive for COVID-19, they can request a one-time use “key” through They can then enter this 10-digit “key” in order to tell the app about their diagnosis. The app then anonymously alerts individuals who have been within 2 meters of the case for more than 15 minutes in the last 14 days and may benefit from testing. This allows close contacts to learn about their exposure and go for testing, whether or not the case knows who they are.

The app notifies you of your proximity to a case, but it does not notify Ottawa Public Health. Ottawa Public Health will only contact you if you are named as a contact by a case or if you get a positive test result in order to complete our contact tracing and ensure you have the information you need aboutself-isolation. These processes are separate to maintain the privacy of health information. Ottawa Public Health makes every effort to protect the privacy of personal health information while conducting contact tracing, so if you receive an alert do NOT contact Ottawa Public Health seeking information on cases that you may have come in contact with

COVID Alert At Work:

When and where to turn on the app

If you are working with COVID-19 patients or in an assessment centre, you can still use this app to get notified about possible contacts outside of work. However, in order for the information to be useful to you, you will want to plan when and where you turn on the app. You can turn off the app when seeing patients in full PPE to avoid multiple notifications of COVID-19 cases that are already known and/or from which you were protected. If you are going for testing, this app should also be turned off while at the assessment centre.

To temporarily turn off the app, you can find the app within “Settings” on your phone and deactivate “COVID-19 Exposure Logging”. You can also simply deactivate your Bluetooth, as that will prevent the app from communicating with surrounding phones.

A user can change the settings on their device to disable COVID exposure logging and not impact other apps or features on their device (e.g. without disabling Bluetooth).

On iPhones : Go to Settings, then choose Privacy, then Health, then COVID-19 Exposure Logging.

On Android phones:Go to Settings, then choose Google, then COVID-19 Exposure Notifications.”

Physicians Resources

Written by: Ellen Snyder MD CCFP Resident Physician Ottawa Public Health 

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