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A new mobile app to help track the spread of COVID-19 is expected to launch in Ontario on July 2.

Ontario government officials say the app – named COVID Shield will supplement the province’s contact tracing strategy ahead of a potential second wave of the virus in the fall.

The province says it also plans to launch a new cloud-based case management system this summer and will bolster its contact tracing workforce – doubling its current capacity to more than 4,000 workers.

The government says the app works on an opt-in basis in order to protect the privacy of users, and the province has consulted with the Information and Privacy Commissioner on its development.

The app will notify people based on a number of criteria, including if they were within two metres of a person who tests positive for the virus and if that contact was over an extended period of time.

It uses Bluetooth to share anonymous, randomly generated codes with other app users nearby, and does not track or store personal information or location data.

If a person tests positive for the virus, a user can choose to anonymously notify others who they have been near over the previous 14 days.

Ontario is reporting 173 new cases of COVID-19 today, and three more deaths.

It’s the lowest number of new cases since late March and brings the province to a total of 32,917.

That’s an increase of 0.5 per cent over the previous day, the lowest growth rate since early March.

The total includes 2,553 deaths and 28,004 resolved cases _ with those now making up more than 85 per cent of the province’s total.

The numbers of patients with COVID-19 in hospital, in intensive care and on ventilators all dropped to their lowest levels since the province started publicly reporting those figures at the beginning of April.

June 19, 2020

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