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NZ COVID Tracer alerts

Last updated: 5 February 2021

There are two types of alert that you might get in NZ COVID Tracer if you have been exposed to COVID-19. There are also some notifications that are sent by your operating system that don’t indicate you have been exposed to COVID-19. 

If you saw a notification but didn’t see exactly what it said, open the NZ COVID Tracer app and check if there is an alert on the dashboard. If there is not, it’s likely to be a routine notification. 

Location alerts 

If you have scanned in somewhere that someone with COVID-19 has been at the same time, you will see a yellow alert on the app dashboard. 

Please follow the advice in this alert. If it includes a button saying “send your details”, please fill out this form with your contact details so that you can be followed up by contact tracers. 

Bluetooth alerts 

If Bluetooth tracing indicates that you have been close to someone with COVID-19, you will see an orange alert on the dashboard.  

A Bluetooth alert is a simple way of making you aware that you've been nearby a person or persons who have since been found to have COVID-19. It doesn't necessarily mean you've contracted the virus.

If you receive a Bluetooth alert, it's important that you follow the advice within the alert to help protect yourself, your whānau and the community.

If it includes a button saying “send your details”, please fill out this form with your contact details so that you can be followed up by contact tracers. 

Screenshot of a bluetooth alert
Screenshot of a bluetooth alert

What do I do if I get a Bluetooth alert?

The Bluetooth alert will:

  • let you know that you've been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • tell you when you were last thought to have been exposed to the virus
  • provide advice on what you should do next to protect yourself and your whānau.

A Bluetooth alert might be:

  • based on exposure to one person, or it might be several people
  • based on exposure from one day, or it might be across several days
  • about people you know, or it might be people you don’t know
  • about people you were with, or it might be people who were simply nearby.

How are Bluetooth alerts generated?

When an app user tests positive for COVID-19, the contact tracing team will ask them if they want to send a Bluetooth alert to any other app users who have been near them over the past 14 days. If the app user agrees, the contact tracer will provide them with a verification code that will allow them to upload their Bluetooth tracing keys.

If you have Bluetooth tracing turned on, your phone will check every few hours to see if there have been any uploads containing the keys that your phone has encountered. If your phone sees one of these keys, and the phone that had been broadcasting the key was close enough for long enough to present a risk of exposure, you'll receive a Bluetooth alert.

The entire process is anonymous. Any app users who receive the Bluetooth alert won’t know who sent the alert or where they were when they came into close contact. No data is shared with Apple, Google, the Ministry of Health or the Government. 

Routine notifications 

Your operating system will sometimes show notifications about the normal operation of Exposure Notifications, the technology that enables Bluetooth tracing.  

Exposure notifications inactive

This notification will turn up on Android phones if you turn Bluetooth off.  

Checking exposure keys

This notification appears briefly on the screen of Android phones when they are checking for the keys that have been uploaded by people with COVID-19.  

You may also see a notification on Android or iPhone saying “Your phone continues to look for possible exposures on your behalf”.  

This is a monthly reminder. You can configure whether to receive these in your phone’s Exposure Notification settings. It means that Bluetooth tracing is continuing to work as normal.  

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