Getting started with NZ COVID Tracer

How to get started with each of NZ COVID Tracer’s main functions.

Page last updated: 21 December 2020

On this page:

See also: NZ COVID Tracer walkthrough video.


Turn on contact alerts

The first time you open the app, you'll be asked if you want to enable contact alerts. We highly recommend you do so you can:

  • receive a location alert if you scanned the QR code for a location at around the same time it was visited by a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19
  • receive a Bluetooth alert if you have been near another app user who tests positive for COVID-19 (you'll also need to turn on Bluetooth tracing).

If you chose not to enable contact alerts, or if you’ve turned them off, you can turn them back on at any time via the app 'Dashboard'. 

Note: once contact alerts have been enabled you can disable them via the app notifications/permissions menu in your phone’s 'Settings'.

The dashboard in the contact tracer app
The dashboard in the app

Turn on Bluetooth tracing

Bluetooth tracing is included within version 3.0.1 of the app and later. We strongly recommend you turn on Bluetooth tracing if your phone is compatible. It allows you to receive an alert if you've been near another app user who tests positive for COVID-19.

To turn on Bluetooth tracing or check whether it's already on:

  • Open the app (v.3.0.1 and later) and tap on ‘Dashboard’ if it isn't already open.
  • If Bluetooth tracing is enabled, the Dashboard will state that “Bluetooth tracing is on”. Otherwise, it will state that “Bluetooth tracing is off”.
  • Tap on the ‘Bluetooth tracing is off’ tile to bring up the option to ‘Turn it on’.

Find out more about Bluetooth tracing including compatibility requirements. For information on how to update the app, see the questions and answers page
.

The dashboard in the contact tracer app
Showing Bluetooth currently switched off

Record your visits

Scan the QR codes to create a private digital diary of the places you visit. This will allow you to receive a location alert if you visit the same place – at around the same time – as someone who later tests positive for COVID-19.

To scan a QR code:

  • Open the app and tap ‘Record a visit’ if it isn't already selected.
  • Point your phone at the QR code so it fits within the target area on the display of your phone. Your phone will vibrate and a tick will appear to show you have successfully scanned the code.
  • Tap on the text box if you want to add any further important details such as who you were with or what you were doing.
  • Then tap ‘Finish’ to return to the ‘Record a visit’ screen.

To add a manual diary entry:

  • Open the app and tap ‘Record a visit’ if it isn't already selected.
  • Tap ‘Add manual entry’ and simply fill in the form on the next screen. You can enter the place or activity, the arrival date and time, and any further important details.
  • Tap ‘Add entry’ once you've entered all the relevant details.
  • Then tap ‘Finish’ to return to the ‘Record a visit’ screen.
     
Shows a visit recorded screen in the app
Shows a visit recorded screen in the app

View and edit your digital diary

You can view your digital diary at any time by:

  • tapping the icon on the top-left of the ‘Record a visit’ screen, or
  • tapping ‘My data’ along the bottom menu within the app, and then taping ‘My diary’.

You can also edit or delete diary entries if you make a mistake or need to add extra details. First, tap on the diary entry to see its details. Then tap either ‘Edit’ or ‘Delete entry’

For QR code entries, you can add any details that might help with contact tracing, such as the names of the people you were with.

For manual entries, you can also edit the place, activity, time and date information for the entry.

How to view your digital diary
How to view your digital diary

Read more about NZ COVID Tracer QR codes.


Register your information

Taking a minute to register your personal information and contact details makes it easier for contact tracers to get in touch if they need to. This is entirely optional but strongly recommended.

To register your information:

  • Open the app ‘Dashboard
  • Tap on ‘Update your details’ or ‘Update your address’ (this will open a webpage outside the app)
  • Enter your email address. A six-digit code will be sent to this address that will allow you to log into the webpage
  • Within the webpage, tap on ‘Update details’ and follow the prompts (all information is optional)
  • Then tap ‘Update address’ and follow the prompts (all information is optional)
  • Close the webpage once you've finished registering your information.

Share your digital diary with contact tracers

If you are identified as a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, a contact tracer will get in touch to provide advice on self-isolation and to check on your health and wellbeing.

The contact tracer will also ask you about the places you’ve been and the people you’ve seen. To help with this, you can open your digital diary by going to the ‘My data’ screen and tapping the ‘My diary’ option.

The contact tracer may ask you to share your digital diary with the Ministry of Health. You can do this by tapping the ‘Share my diary’ option within the ‘My data’ screen. You’ll be prompted to enter your personal information (if you haven’t previously entered it into NZ COVID Tracer). The contact tracer will then provide you with a verification code which will allow you to transmit your digital diary to the Ministry.

How to share your diary within the app


Send a Bluetooth alert

If you're identified as a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, a contact tracer will get in touch to provide advice on self-isolation and to check on your health and wellbeing.

If you're using Bluetooth tracing, the contact tracer will ask if you want to send a Bluetooth alert. If you agree, the contact tracer will provide you with a verification code. You can then initiate the alert by going to the ‘My data’ screen, tapping the ‘Share my Bluetooth tracing codes’ option and then entering the code. This will send a Bluetooth alert to the other app users who have come near enough to you for long enough to be at risk of exposure.

Find out more about Bluetooth alerts


Save your NHI number

If you need to visit a COVID-19 testing station, it's helpful to have your National Health Index (NHI) number with you, as this can help speed up the process. An NHI number is a unique identifier that is assigned to every person who uses health and disability support services in New Zealand.

You can save your NHI number within the NZ COVID Tracer app by going to the ‘My data’ screen and tapping on the ‘My NHI details’ option. You’ll then be prompted to enter you NHI number for easy access if you ever need a COVID-19 test.
 

You can find out your NHI by checking:

  • a prescription or prescription receipt
  • a prescription medicine bottle label
  • a hospital letter
  • an x-ray or test result
  • your ManageMyHealth profile (desktop website)

If you still can't find your NHI, try giving your general practitioner or pharmacist a call.

Tip: Find your nearest testing station by tapping the ‘Learn more’ tile on the app dashboard.


New features under consideration

Like all mobile apps, NZ COVID Tracer will be updated as new features are developed.

New features under consideration include:

  • publishing key information and statistics within the app dashboard
  • enabling app users to participate in a COVID-19 symptom survey to help track any further community outbreaks
  • multi-language support
  • accessibility enhancements
  • user experience enhancements such as gamification.

In this section

  • Bluetooth tracing lets your phone exchange anonymous random keys with other nearby phones that also have Bluetooth tracing enabled. If you or another app user in your community tests positive for COVID-19, other app users who have been in close contact can be quickly notified. Read more
  • Bluetooth alerts are displayed on the NZ COVID Tracer dashboard as a dark orange box containing the Bluetooth logo. The alert will state that you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.  Read more
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