The most alarming aspect of Coronavirus is how easily it can spread from one person to another. According to WHO, being within 1 metre of an infected person and having face to face interaction for more at least 15 minutes automatically puts the person at risk of infection. Another issue is that some people carrying the virus can be asymptomatic, meaning that they can contribute to the spread without even knowing. As we continue to combat COVID-19 outside of lockdown with slowed down transmission rates, contact tracing has emerged as the best tool to manage and slow down the spread of the virus. But what is contact tracing? How does it work and how can we make it more efficient?
What is Contact Tracing?
Contact tracing is the process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to the virus to prevent further spread. With traditional contact tracing, when a potential case is identified, contact tracing workers interview the individual to trace back who they may have had recent contact with, including family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and more. Then, those people who are at risk are interviewed about their health status, tested and are encouraged to self-isolate to mitigate the risk of spread.
Of the contacts tested, if there is a new confirmed case of the virus, the process of contact tracing begins all over again. This process continues until all possible cases are identified. However, realistically, it is impossible to identify every single case in the context of a pandemic on a global scale.
While it is a necessary tool to prevent transmission and manage the pandemic continuously in the post-lockdown world, contact tracing is a painstaking process that requires a lot of trained and qualified manpower, resources and time. In fact, reports estimate it could cost about $3.6 billion to pay all the contact tracers needed to reopen the United States, based on a year’s worth of full-time pay at $17 an hour.
Automation of Contact Tracing for Efficiency and Time Saving
In this landscape, many tech companies have focused their efforts in automating the process to reduce costs and make it easier for governments to implement these solutions. Although many different solutions utilizing smartphones and wearable devices were implemented, it is difficult to assess their efficacy on a large scale since the adoption levels remain low. On a smaller scale however, these solutions can be highly effective in getting in the way of spread, such as in hospitals, hotels, offices, manufacturing facilities, campuses, and airports.
Boni Global responded to this crisis with Safe Steps, a comprehensive COVID-10 solution for businesses. Safe Steps automates social distancing and contact tracing for reduced costs and higher accuracy. With this solution, smart wearable devices are able to measure social distance and store the data within each other without the necessity of internet connection in the device or a gateway installation covering the entire space. Social distancing becomes more accurate as the devices take out the guesswork and warn users any time they are not at a safe distance from another user.
Meanwhile, interaction data collected from the wearable device/mobile application allows the management to monitor breaches of social distancing and analyze employee social networks for risk of transmission and create filiation reports. The Social Distance Score, calculated with the duration and distance of risky interactions provide management with a numerical value that can be used to accurately assess risk of individuals, teams and departments while also incentivizing complaince to social distancing rules with the gamificaiton method.
With the AI capabilities of the solution, you can conduct what-if analysis based on potential infection scenarios to estimate the likelihood of spread and simplify shift planning accordingly. Safe Steps partially automates the process of contact tracing and doesn’t completely take out the human factor but aims to simplify data collection and empower contact tracers with accurate contact data, allowing them to create more accurate data-based filiation reports.
Contact us for more information on how you can implement Safe Steps in your venue.