SAULT STE. MARIE -- The City of Sault Ste. Marie is launching a locally developed COVID-19 screening and contact tracing app at its facilities.

Among other things, the CommunityPass app allows people to self-screen for symptoms and check-in to various locations to help with contact tracing.

CommunityPass also stores testing results and proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The app uses beacon technology and Bluetooth. Dr. Lucas Castellani, a physician at Sault Area Hospital and one of the doctors behind the project, said beacons are being installed at various city-run facilities.

“They’re going to put them in most of the community centres and buses,” said Castellani. “So if you have it turned on, on your phone that you have this auto check-in type process through Bluetooth technology, it will automatically check you in.”

GFL Memorial Gardens, which houses the Sault’s vaccination hub, and other facilities such as the John Rhodes Community Centre will have beacons installed by the city.

Brent Lamming, Sault Ste. Marie’s director of community services, said the app comes at a good time as the economy has slowly begun to reopen.

“It’s totally voluntary -- it’s not mandatory by any means,” said Lamming. “But it’s another tool in the toolbox to be able to utilize to help with contact tracing and to store your vaccination results in a one-stop spot.”

Castellani said beacons are being offered to small businesses at no cost, while the app is free for individuals to download. He said CommunityPass could be used beyond the current pandemic should we experience another one down the road.