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CookSafe contact tracing pilot launches tomorrow

Travellers arriving in the Cook Islands on Friday’s plane from New Zealand will be invited to keep track of their movements as part of the COVID-19 contact tracing pilot. The CookSafe pilot will provide important insights to strengthen the Cook Islands’ COVID-19 contact tracing processes and protocols, says Secretary of Health, Dr Josephine Aumea Herman.

“Our priority is to keep our residents and visitors safe,” says Dr Herman. “Contact tracing is core public health work and we are using technology to enhance our work efficiencies. We are learning from other countries that are using this technology. This pilot gives us the opportunity to road-test our digital record-keeping systems, to find out what gaps we need to fill and if there are any issues to be addressed.

CookSafe will complement the World Health Organisation developed Go.Data software disease outbreak investigation tool for case and contact management that Te Marae Ora is launching next week. Go.Data provides Te Marae with the ability to rapidly scale response efforts to any disease surges. While COVID-19 is the focus of our efforts, these systems will apply to future public health threats including dengue. This is an important learning opportunity as we begin reopening to the outside world. We are checking systems are in place to rapidly track travellers’ movements in public places like shops, bars and restaurants.”

The CookSafe pilot is a collaborative initiative between Government and the Private Sector Taskforce with Te Marae Ora leading. It will keep a digital record of where volunteers have been, in the event they need to be reached for coronavirus contact tracing.

Volunteers will be issued a CookSafe card which they will keep with them all the time. Those with mobile phones can take a picture of the QR code and present that image or their CookSafe Card for scanning at venues participating in the pilot. There are a growing number of businesses participating like The Islander Hotel, Kai and Co, LBV, Sails Restaurant, The Café, Tupapa Community Center, Local Life Barbers and Raro Fried Chicken.

As an incentive signing up for the CookSafe pilot will have the chance to win a Vodafone sponsored Samsung S10e valued at over $1000. All participants in the trial will go into a draw to win the phone, the draw will take place at the end of the 31- day trial.

The scanner will automatically send date, time, and location information to a secure database, tagged to the card’s unique code number. Information collected will be stored on an encrypted database and will only be accessible to authorised public health officials to protect people’s

Registered venues taking part in the trial will use the CookSafe app to scan cards through a connected mobile device, such as a mobile or iPad. The CookSafe app is compatible with android and iOS operating systems.

The trial is open to all interested members of the public, businesses, and venues. People wishing to opt in and pick up a CookSafe card can register at the Tourism Office in Avarua beside the ANZ bank and at the Chamber Office below the BTIB building opposite the Punanga Nui playground.

ENDS: Enquiries to Jaewynn McKay +682 55486