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NOT even the province is clear on the process of doling out COVID-positive codes for the national alert app, despite encouraging Manitobans to use it earlier this month.

Email exchanges with a provincial representative revealed confusion surrounding how Manitobans can properly use the COVID Alert app if they test positive for the virus.

Manitobans looking to input a positive COVID-19 status to the national alert app must request a one-time key from public health officials at the time of their follow-up contact tracing call, a provincial spokesperson said Thursday.

Requests for information on how and when to obtain COVID Alert codes were sent to the province Tuesday.

On Thursday, a government spokesperson initially told the Free Press the province is encouraging Manitobans to request the one-time key at the time of receiving their positive test result.

Some Manitobans receive results from a lab, such as Dynacare, while others receive the result in a phone call from public health officials. Only those health officials can issue the one-time, unique codes.

In a followup email to the Free Press later Thursday afternoon, a provincial spokesperson clarified that public health officials issue the key during the contact-tracing call, not when receiving a positive test result.

Winnipeggers have reported delays of nearly a week between receiving a positive test result and a followup call from contact tracers. The app stores Bluetooth-based location data between phones for a maximum of 14 days.

The province noted the federal government has begun a public education campaign to encourage Canadians to request their codes. The province said it hopes to see "a greater uptake on key requests in the weeks ahead."

The app became available for use in Manitoba on Oct. 1.

—Julia-Simone Rutgers


Julia-Simone Rutgers

Julia-Simone Rutgers

Julia-Simone Rutgers is a general-assignment reporter.

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