COVID is now spreading out of control in Alberta
The latest numbers COVID-19 numbers as of November 10 show that the virus is currently spreading out of control in Alberta with new records being broken almost daily. The latest surge in cases already dwarfs the original COVID surge from this past spring. A letter dated November 9th to the premier and health minister signed by over 70 physicians warned of ‘catastrophic’ consequences without further action.
The number of Albertans hospitalized and in ICU is now sharply on the rise. (Source: CBC News, November 9, 2020)
Active COVID-19 cases in Alberta are increasing dramatically. (Source: CBC News, November 9, 2020)
Alberta’s contact tracing system has ‘imploded’ and is no longer functioning
As of November 6th, Alberta’s contact tracing system has ‘imploded’ with contact tracers now so overwhelmed that they will no longer be notifying people who have been in close contact with an infected person, unless they are deemed to be linked to a "high-priority setting." According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contact tracing is an essential component of a multipronged approach to fight the COVID-19 pandemic by stopping chains of transmission.
Alberta’s contact tracing app is a failure
When Alberta’s contact tracing app was launched in May it did not work on iPhones. As of November 16, the provincial app still does not full function. Now that Alberta’s contact tracing system is no longer contacting anyone beyond “high risk” individuals the provincial app is rendered useless. As a result of these ongoing failures, less than 5% of Albertans today have bothered to use the provincial app.
Update Nov/16/2020: Alberta's contact tracing app has been used to track COVID-19 exposures only 19 times.
The provincial government’s excuses for not allowing access to the national app have been thoroughly debunked by a Calgary engineer.
Calgary’s Chief of Emergency Management Tom Sampson has joined the chorus of Alberta healthcare experts that are calling for access to the national COVID Alert contact tracing app for Albertans. (Source: Twitter)
The national COVID Alert app works and has stronger privacy protection
The national app, COVID Alert, has been downloaded more than five million times across Canada and automatically works without any reliance on overwhelmed contact tracing staff. It has been recognized for stronger privacy protection than the provincial app in Alberta and, unlike the provincial app, the national app works between all Android and iPhone devices.
The time for salvaging broken software has passed
The time for trying to fix a broken app has long passed. The fight against COVID-19 is on and Alberta needs a functioning contact tracing app if we want any chance of controlling the virus.
About the author
Evan Galbraith has a MSc Health, Population and Society from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he studied social epidemiology and population health. He lives in Calgary and has worked on public policy municipally and provincially in Alberta.