App coming to notify you if you’ve come in contact with COVID-19

(BlackburnNews.com file photo by Adelle Loiselle)

While jurisdictions around the world are turning to digital technology to help with contact tracing, Canadians will have to wait a little longer.

Apple and Google released application programming interfaces this past week to enable governments to use an app to contact people who have been in contact with someone else who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The companies said 22 countries around the world are building phone apps the public can download.

In Canada, only Alberta has one. It launched ABTraceTogether in early May. However, uptake has disappointed public health officials in that province.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada is reviewing several possible apps for all Canadians to use.

“One of the challenges that those apps have encountered is that it has to sit in the foreground of your phone and drains the battery,” he told reporters Friday.

Apple and Google believe they have a fix for that problem, but it may not be ready until June.

“When the time comes for that to be released, we will be able to recommend, strongly, to Canadians a particular app,” Trudeau said.

The app could be a huge boon for provinces like Ontario and Quebec, trying to ramp up their contact tracing. COVID-19 has hardest hit those two provinces.