As Whanganui enjoys a summer free of Covid-19 and tough restrictions, authorities say it remains as important as ever for people to trace their movements, especially with several large gatherings over the next few weeks.
A managed isolation facility worker sparked a brief lockdown at the Hamilton District Court this week when they turned up at court and told a staff member she had a runny nose and was awaiting the result of a Covid-19 test.
The Ministry of Health confirmed the negative result on Wednesday afternoon and it has since been reported the worker's test was a routine one.
Although the risk to the public was deemed to be low, Ministry of Health data and digital deputy director Shayne Hunter said it served as a reminder for people to continue recording their movements.
"It's incredibly important we all scan the QR codes wherever we see them, as the more we all scan, the safer we'll all be," he said.
"We can't afford to get complacent – we've seen that despite our robust border controls the virus can emerge anywhere in the community at any time."
Whanganui businesses report customers have been continuing to use the codes displayed at their premises as well as filling in the manual registers, although with less frequency than before.
Central City Pharmacy on Victoria Ave has a QR code and register prominently displayed by the door and assistant Hannah Hills said customers are stopping to use them.
"They are not scanning as much as they were during the earlier stages but they are using them in significant numbers," she said.
Peter Ross at the Orange Cafe said "most customers" are scanning the QR poster as the come in.
"We had it in the foyer area where some people weren't noticing it so we moved it to a more prominent place near the counter where most people are using it.
"They are using the hand sanitiser as well and we are topping it up regularly."
Patea visitors Jo and Kerry Lane were scanning the QR code poster at Sunny's Variety Store in Victoria Ave.
"We have been making sure to do it everywhere we go as we've been travelling about a bit," said Jo.
"It's important to keep doing it, especially when you're away from home."
Sunny's staff reported that around 50 per cent of customers are using the QR code posters even though they have three prominently displayed in the store.
A Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) spokesman said he was concerned that people may be becoming complacent about the virus.
"While Whanganui has not had a Covid-19 case since April, the global pandemic is still raging around the world, and New Zealand has had cases of the new Covid variant at the border. So it is important that we all remain vigilant and stick to the basic safety and hygiene precautions," he said.
"These include staying home if you are unwell; thorough hand washing and drying; regularly cleaning surfaces; maintaining social distancing of two metres when out and about and around people you don't know, and sneezing and coughing into the crook of your elbow."
Numbers coming through the community-based assessment centre (CBAC) at Whanganui Hospital have been low recently but the DHB said this may, in part, be due to people being out of the area during the holiday period.
"However, WDHB is well aware of a number of events coming up in the region that will attract significant numbers of visitors – Whanganui Vintage Weekend; Ratana celebrations; the Kiwiburn festival and the NZ Masters Games.
"These events and this influx of visitors should put everyone on alert about the risk of infection."
He advises that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms (cough, fever, runny nose, loss of sense of smell, difficulty breathing) should call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 to find out where their nearest testing centre is, or call their GP.
The NZ Covid-19 tracer app now has 2,420,400 registered national users.
Poster scans have reached 144,622,903 and app users have created 5,829,315 manual diary entries.
The first Covid-19 case was reported on February 28 last year and by March 25, the number of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand had reached 205 prompting Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare to declare a national state of emergency and the country entered alert level 4 at 11:59 pm that night.
The Ministry of Health reported four new cases on Thursday this week, bringing the total number to 2188 (1832 confirmed and 356 probable). One person has recovered, bringing the total number of recovered to 2101. There were 62 active cases in managed isolation. The New Zealand Covid-19 death toll remains 25.
The Whanganui Hospital CBAC is open for testing Monday to Friday, 8am to 3.30pm, except on public holidays. Outside these times, Whanganui Accident and Medical (WAM) is open 8am to 9pm, and can be reached by calling 06 348 1300.