There are 218 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, bringing the provincial total to 5,573.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, announced the latest statistics at the provincial government’s daily press conference Friday afternoon.
Three more deaths were announced, bringing the death toll to 92.
Of the total number of cases, 2,359 have recovered – 153,766 tests have been completed.
Confirmed case totals, both active and recovered, in the City of Red Deer, Red Deer County, City of Lacombe, Lacombe County, Ponoka County, Clearwater County and Mountain View County remain unchanged from Thursday.
There are currently 86 people in hospital, 22 of whom have been admitted to intensive care units. Additionally, 699 cases are suspected of being community acquired.
During Friday’s conference, the government of Alberta announced the launch of a voluntary mobile app that aims to enhance the current manual tracing process.
“ABTraceTogether was designed to help protect Albertans and prevent community spread by quickly alerting people who may be at risk,” said Hinshaw.
“The more Albertans who use it, the better we will be able to protect individuals from being unknowingly exposed and possibly spreading the disease.
“Give it a try, and encourage your family and friends to do the same. By working together, we can tackle this pandemic.”
Contact tracing is currently performed by interviewing patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, which is resource intensive and has limitations on its effectiveness, as it relies on the patient’s memory, the provincial government said in a statement.
Through wireless Bluetooth technology, mobile contact tracing will complement the work of health-care workers and speed up the current manual tracing process.
Use of the app is voluntary and users must opt in. Only a phone number is collected at the time of registering.
The application does not track the user’s location and does not use your GPS. Data is only stored on the user’s phone in an encrypted format for 21 days.
Users must consent to sharing their data if they have tested positive for COVID-19. The only information shared with contact tracers is a random ID of those identified as close contacts after a user is diagnosed with COVID-19 – nothing identifiable is exchanged between phones.