Keeping the Workplace Safe with Contact Tracing during the COVID-19 PandemicPatrick Chiang
There are multiple steps you can take to keep your workplace as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s contact tracing that can stop a single case from spreading and shutting your business down.
By now, we’ve all heard of contact tracing. And we know that it’s the key to stopping the spread of COVID-19, which has claimed the lives of nearly 200,000 Americans and is projected to shrink our economy by nearly $8 trillion over the next decade.
“Contact tracing can stop a single case from spreading and shutting your business down.”
But there are still so many questions. What are the best guidelines to follow? Who will be responsible for actually doing the contact tracing? And what resources will they have to do it? It can all be a real nightmare—and potential liability—for human resource and facility managers.
The Turing Non-Contact Body Temperature Scanner and Platform was developed to address all of those concerns, making contact tracing as effective and efficient as possible. Even more importantly, it aligns with all CDC guidelines, which we’ll get to in a minute.
So how does it work? The Turing Scanner starts with a simple text-based health questionnaire that takes less than 30 seconds to complete. The employee then stands before the scanner, which checks both temperature and if a mask is being worn. There is no physical contact between the scanner and the employee.
If all of the checks are passed, the scanner then generates a badge indicating that the employee is cleared to be at work that day.
But if all the checks are not passed, the Turing Scanner has a plan built into its platform. Within seconds, the designated manager is notified. If the employee ultimately tests positive for COVID-19, contact tracing can be done quickly and easily through the Turing Scanner’s platform.
It’s a high-tech strategy to minimize the impact of the virus on your employees and customers, while also protecting the future of your business.
Contact Tracing and CDC Guidelines
At its core, contact tracing is simply working with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 to discover all of the people they may have come into contact with while contagious. Once those people are identified, they are contacted and, ideally, given support as to what they should do next.
But within that definition, there are a lot of nuances. The CDC issued guidance on May 26, 2020, to clarify how exactly contact tracing should be done. It includes the following recommendations:
- Because the virus can spread even when asymptomatic, contact tracing must be swift and thorough.
- Contacting people should be done, as much as possible, via remote contact methods. In-person contact tracing should be done as a last resort only.
- Contact tracing should be conducted for any individual who came within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes.
- Testing should be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients.
- Confidentiality must be safeguarded during the contact tracing process.
Current Practices for Contact Tracing
The CDC’s guidelines are effective, in theory, but the real question is how are they being carried out across the United States? What is the best way to put these recommendations into practice?
To evaluate that, we took a look at California Connected, the state-wide contact tracing system implemented for the 40 million residents of California. Here’s how the system works:
- Once someone tests positive, they should immediately separate themselves from others. They are contacted by their local health department as soon as possible.
- The person who has tested positive is asked where they have been and who they have spent time with recently.
- Health officials then contact those people to inform them they may have been exposed. They are not given the name of the infected person.
- Health officials will stay in touch with people they contact to see if they develop symptoms and to provide support.
All of this is done as quickly as possible to contain the spread of the virus, but is it done quickly enough to ensure the safety of your employees and customers?
It’s also important to realize that resources directed toward contact tracing vary widely from state to state.
Illinois, for example, is investing almost $80 million in building a statewide contact tracing program, with the goal of having at least 30 contact tracers per every 100,000 residents. But Florida, in contrast, planned to rely on existing staff and retired medical staff to get the job done.
“If someone in your workplace is diagnosed with COVID-19, will you wait until your local health department does their investigation?”
If someone in your workplace is diagnosed with COVID-19, will you wait until your local health department does their investigation, potentially allowing the virus to spread unchecked in the meantime?
Or will you seek to secure your workplace as quickly as possible?
That’s where the Turing Scanner comes into play.
Current Alternative Solutions
Many alternative contact tracing solutions are in development, but each of them comes with its own drawback or limitation.
Work.com, developed by Salesforce, is a contact tracing program that requires each employee to manually enter interactions and symptoms. Once an individual shows symptoms of COVID-19, those recorded interactions are used to notify everyone potentially exposed to the virus. However, the manual labor required to operate this solution makes it inefficient in its current state.
CenTrak proposes a wearable device that tracks interactions by measuring the distance between other employees’ wearables. This solution requires all workers to wear their devices at all times to be effective.
Various software companies have attempted to create contact tracing solutions using mobile apps, but those require all employees to have the app installed and running on their phones.
Turing’s solution is not bound by the limitations present in these alternative contact tracing methods. By utilizing the network of scanners, effective contact tracing is possible without disrupting the employees in your workplace.
Turing’s Covid-19 Response Solution support for Contact Tracing
When you’re running a business—or a college or institution—contact tracing becomes critically important. Your employees are generally in close proximity and, if one of them tests positive for COVID-19, it’s essential to conduct contact tracing as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The Turing Scanner was designed to do exactly that.
Let’s take a closer look at how it works. The Turing Scanner can be connected to Turing’s Data Access Management Platform. This platform allows centralized monitoring of all the scanners that are connected to it. The result is comprehensive real-time alerts and reporting for your company.
If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, managers can turn to the Turing Platform to launch quick and effective contact tracing, with all the resources they need right at their fingertips.
“Managers can turn to the Turing Platform to launch quick and effective contact tracing, with all the resources they need right at their fingertips.”
So instead of contacting an employee who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and grilling them about their exact whereabouts over the past two weeks (an almost impossible task), all an employer has to do is log onto the platform. From there, they can see which rooms the infected person has been in and who they have come into contact with.
If facial recognition is activated for the system, each employee can be tagged and stored within the system to make contact tracing even easier. The relevant footage for that employee can then be accessed using facial recognition, allowing employers to know which rooms to clean and which employees to notify.
Which raises an important point. Contact tracing systems and thermal scanners are collecting information that must, per the CDC, remain confidential.
The problem is that the vast majority of thermal scanning systems operate on an Android system—and recent headlines warned that more than a billion Android devices are at risk of being hacked.
The Turing Scanner, in contrast, uses the Enterprise Class Linux operating system, which is regarded by experts as one of the most secure operating systems available on the market. The scanner also complies with rigorous security measures, including data encryption, platform penetration testing, and organization data security compliance.
“The scanner also complies with rigorous security measures, including data encryption, platform penetration testing, and organization data security compliance.”
And if facial recognition software makes you uncomfortable for any reason, that feature does not need to be activated for the system to work.
The bottom line? The Turing Scanner can help keep your employees and customers as safe as possible while also safeguarding the privacy and maintaining the highest security standards.
About Turing Video
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned business as usual upside down, leaving owners and managers scrambling to protect both their employees and their livelihood. Maintaining accurate records becomes more important than ever, but it’s also more difficult than ever.
The Turing Scanner harnesses the power of technology to make all of that as efficient and effective as possible. It does so by integrating screening, temperature checks, and mask detection into one easy-to-use scanner—and enabling quick and easy contact tracing should one of your employees be diagnosed with COVID-19.
The end goal, of course, is to slow the spread of COVID-19 and return our country to normal. So that—someday soon—we can gather back at the water cooler once again and talk about, well, anything other than this pandemic.
Contact us today or check out a demo to see how the Turing Scanner can help safeguard your employees and customers—as well as the future of your business.