Want to help mitigate community spread of the COVID-19 virus? Well now there’s an app for that, and the city is making sure their employees are doing their part.
As of Friday, August 12, all city employees with city-issued cell phones downloaded and have been running the COVID-19 Alert app on their smartphones. As of today, the free app is officially available for use to all Manitoba residents. Manitoba is the fifth Province to join this initiative.
“This is just another way we’re trying to be leaders in our community. Even if this prevents one, or ten, or 100 people from contracting the virus, it’s well worth it,” said Mayor Larry Johannson.
Help prevent community spread
Developed by the Government of Canada, the free COVID Alert app’s main purpose is to break the cycle of community spread by notifying you if you’ve possibly been exposed to someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the Government of Canada’s website, the app exchanges randomly generated codes with others who have downloaded the app via Bluetooth. If you have test positive, you notify the app and anyone who has received a randomly generated code from you will be notified they may have been exposed.
App does not collect personal data
The Government of Canada’s website also says the app is secure and has no way of knowing your location, your name, your contacts, your address or your health records.
“Our employees deal with citizens on a daily basis. I view it as our civic duty that if one of our employees tested positive, we would notify anyone they came in contact with instantly. This makes it easy for us to do that,” said the city’s Director of Protective Services Kristy Hill.
“Not only that, if someone who was asymptomatic exposed and unknowingly infected multiple people at their workplace, that could possibly devastate our day-to-day operations. Any step we can take to reduce that from happening, we’re taking it.”
City prepared and taking preventative measures
The city is also taking other preventative measures to mitigate community spread within the workplace. This includes workers travelling in different vehicles when possible, enhanced cleaning and sanitary measures, and providing all staff with facemasks which are to be used when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
Hill says that the city is really focusing on the services they provide, and making sure citizens are informed of the changing landscape.
“We’re taking this seriously. A lot of time and effort has not only gone into keeping our employees and community safe, but to communicate with our citizens about the changes to our day-to-day operations,” said Hill.
“People get their information from multiple different outlets, and it sometimes can be confusing what’s mandatory, what’s recommended, or even what’s true or not. We’re focusing on what we know, delivering services our citizens have come to expect as best we can with the changing landscape, and taking and sharing the direct advice of provincial experts.”
Back in April, the city developed the Selkirk Business Continuity Plan (SBCP) to establish a guideline during different stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also created a dedicated webpage with all changes to city services, programs and events throughout the year.
You can view the SBCP on the dedicated webpage Here.
The COVID alert App is available for download on iOS and Android devices. Together, we can limit the spread of COVID-19 and prevent future outbreaks.