Coronavirus: COVID-19 Tracer app scans nearly double after Northland case emerges

The number of COVID Tracer app QR scans nearly doubled in the days after Kiwis learnt of the positive case in Northland. 

On Sunday afternoon it emerged that a 56-year-old woman, who had recently left the Pullman Hotel managed isolation facility in Auckland, had tested positive for COVID-19. It's suspected the woman contracted the South African variant of the virus while at the hotel, but it wasn't picked up on either of her routine tests before leaving.

After she left managed isolation, the woman visited about 30 locations in the Auckland and Northland regions, prompting officials to tell anyone who had been at the sites at the same time to get tested. 

There was also another push to encourage Kiwis to use the COVID Tracer app and its Bluetooth functionality. Not only does the application provide an easy way of recording where individuals have been, but notifications can be sent to people if they have potentially been exposed to a case.

According to figures published on the Ministry of Health website, between 1pm on Sunday (when reports of the case first began emerging) and 1pm on Monday, there were 815,287 scans. That's up from 520,400 in the 24 hours beforehand and 547,645 on the week prior.

The number of manual diary entries skyrocketed from 20,472 on the day earlier to 93,666, while the active user and Bluetooth user counts also increased.

In the next 24 hours, between 1pm on Monday and 1pm on Tuesday, the number of scans grew even higher to 1.067 million - nearly double that seen before the Northland case. 

About 36,4000 people registered for the application over the two days. 

Due to different time periods being used, these figures differ slightly to those provided by the ministry in their 1pm briefings. 

"Understandably, there has been an increase in registered users, Bluetooth users and scans since Sunday and we'd like to take the opportunity to thank New Zealanders who are helping break the chain of transmission," the ministry said on Tuesday.

"Using Bluetooth and scanning together keeps a private digital diary of where you have been and who you have been near and means you will receive instant notifications about possible exposure to COVID-19. To enable Bluetooth on the app, you need to turn it on within the app, rather than just on your phone in general settings.

"Please remember to keep up the momentum and scan, scan, scan."