Quebec Premier François Legault announced an additional tool in the fight to stem the transmission of the novel coronavirus in the province.
Quebecers can now download and activate the COVID Alert app already used in seven provinces across the country.
Quebec was slow to make the application available, citing worries about possible breaches of user privacy.
“We wanted to be sure there is no risk for the personal data of users,” Legault said.
“We have come to the conclusion that the app is secure. Neither the public health, the government nor your contacts can know where you’ve been or who you’ve met.”
The mobile phone application sends a warning when you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.
Legault urged Quebecers to make use of the new tool.
“The app will only really help us if many people choose to activate it,” he said. “If you want to make a difference and return to a more normal life, please reduce your contacts and activate the COVID app.”
The new app comes as Quebec is reporting 1,191 new cases of the novel coronavirus Monday, marking the fourth consecutive day the tally has topped 1,000.
Health authorities also recorded six additional deaths linked to the COVID-19 health crisis, which is gaining steam in the province. Two of those deaths occurred in the last 24 hours.
The pandemic has led to 79,650 cases and 5,884 fatalities since it bore down nearly seven months ago. There are more than 66,000 recoveries so far.
The number of hospitalizations also continued to climb, up by 27 for a total of 361. Of those patients, 62 are in an intensive care unit — a decrease of two from the previous day.
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said on social media that he was concerned about the rise in hospitalizations.
“We can all make a difference to ensure the capacity of our health system: let’s limit our contacts and respect the rules,” he wrote.
On Saturday, 25,203 tests were conducted across the province. To date, 2,480,577 tests have been given.
The new information comes as three towns in the Gaspésie region were added to Quebec’s red zone on Monday, the highest level for the province’s colour-coded alert system. Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches are already in that zone.
—With files from the Canadian Press