Chamber says contact tracing system use on the rise

Thursday 10 June 2021 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Local, National

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Chamber says contact tracing system use on the rise
Project Manager for CookSafe+ Tofiga Injimo showing the Covid-19 contact tracing mobile app. 21032411

Cook Islanders and tourists are using Covid-19 tracing systems in increasing numbers according to statistics provided by the Chamber of Commerce.

An increasing number of people are using Cook Islands Covid-19 tracing tools since quarantine-free travel with New Zealand got underway, the Chamber of Commerce says. 

More than 31,000 tag-ins were recorded between May 17 and May 30 - 18,000 more than what was recorded in the previous fortnight.

Since the country’s border opened with New Zealand - more than 3000 new users have registered with the CookSafe QR card system.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Eve Hayden said the majority of tag-ins and new registrations were from locals, with 10 per cent sign ups from visitors.

“I think that with the May 17 bubble opening, locals became much more aware of the importance of tagging in so we have definitely seen a surge since then,” she said.

Hayden said the visitor figures were reached by measuring the number of passengers who handed their CookSafe registration cards in at the airport.

“It’s an estimate but a fairly good one.” 

CookSafe contact tracing supervisor Peka Fisher said the chamber was set up at Nikao Social Centre during the first vaccination programme with a goal to get as many tag-ins as possible.

“During that time we also registered more than 2300 CookSafe cards as well as recording almost 8000 tag-ins,” Fisher said.

“We expect similar numbers to these over the coming fortnight as round two of the vaccine rollout begins.”

Prime Foods owner Dan Forsyth said he noticed an increase in people using CookSafe.

“For the first two weeks of the border’s opening we ramped up our services by staffing our entrance and encouraging valued customers to tag into CookSafe.

“This week we took staff from the entrance and noticed that our customers are continuing to tag-in without staff encouragement, which is great to see.

“Our team also register and issue Cook Safe cards and have noticed an increase in cards given out, especially to locals returning from overseas,” Forsyth said.

A media release from the Chamber of Commerce said the CookSafe+ contact tracing app now had 3913 users - almost half of Cook Islands smartphone users.

Fisher said people who have downloaded the app need to ensure their Bluetooth and location services are turned on at all times so the app can work.

Since the end of May, 13,355 CookSafe cards have been issued, with 849 scanners in use across Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Mangaia.

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