Provinces eye technology-enhanced contact tracing in next phase of COVID-19 fight

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Using the simple tools of a telephone, paper and pen, contact tracers across Canada are handling some of the most important work in the fight against COVID-19.

In Alberta, a team of 200 has made thousands of phone calls since the first case was detected in that province two months ago.

“We’re working two shifts each day, seven days a week,” said Dr. David Strong, the medical health officer for Alberta Health Services’ provincial communicable disease program. “We redeployed staff and we also recruited a significant number of medical students coming out of Calgary and Edmonton.”

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Strong says Alberta Health Services is looking to hire additional contact tracers as the province prepares for the next wave of COVID-19 cases.

A new smartphone app was also rolled out last week. If successful, the ABTrace Together app could help contact tracers identify people who have been exposed to COVID-19.

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READ MORE: Alberta launches ABTraceTogether app to improve contact tracing, fight COVID-19 spread

“It can augment our contact tracing [but] it won’t replace what we do,” Strong says. “We’ll still rely on people’s memories,

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