In the workplace and particularly in facilities where employees may come into close contact, employers should be doing everything they can to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and manage employees in cases where workers have been exposed to the coronavirus or have tested positive for it.
A big part of that responsibility is helping with contact tracing conducted by public health officials when an exposure or positive test occurs.
Contact tracing is a proven tool for helping control the spread of infectious diseases. It’s been used successfully in efforts to contain Ebola, SARS, MERS, tuberculosis, other virus and disease outbreaks.
Virtually all medical professionals and organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, say that contact tracing is a crucial part of the three-pronged plan for returning the world to normal: test, trace, isolate.
Public health workers use contact tracing to identify carriers of an infectious disease and identify the individuals with whom they may have had close contact. Once these individuals are identified, they are asked to self-isolate in quarantine to halt the virus’ spread.
Employers play a vital role in assisting this process, particularly when COVID-19 exposures happen in the workplace or involve employees who have been exposed to the coronavirus externally but may have had close contact with fellow employees in the workplace.
How Contact Tracing Works
Here’s how contact tracing works for cases of COVID-19 positive tests and exposure:
- Trained public health and medical workers identify individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- They get in touch with infected individuals to collect data about their movements and contacts, and identify anyone with whom these infected individuals may have had close contact.
- The CDC defines a close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes, starting two days before the infected person began experiencing symptoms.
- Individuals who’ve had close contact with an infected person must be identified, notified, and supported through a period of quarantine.
- While employers are not directly responsible for contact tracing, they should be prepared to assist all tracing efforts by public health officials and medical workers, to enforce quarantine requirements when employees have potentially been exposed.
- Potentially exposed individuals must remain in quarantine until they develop symptoms, pass the time window of risk, or are proven not to have been exposed.
Employer Responsibilities for Contact Tracing
While businesses are not directly responsible for contact tracing, employers need to help public health workers conduct contact tracing to help protect other employees who may have been exposed.
Ultimately, it’s about protecting everyone involved and your business. If your company has effective contact tracing and social distancing programs in place, it not only helps protect you, your employees, and everyone’s families; it also helps minimize the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on your operations and the economy at large.
To set up an automated, manageable, and highly effective system for contact tracing and social distance monitoring, our AbeTech solution experts strongly recommend Zebra’s MotionWorks® Proximity.
MotionWorks Proximity uses enterprise mobile devices, a simple cloud-based software application, using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth proximity tracking to automate and streamline contact tracing and the monitoring of employee social distancing.
Zebra’s MotionWorks® Proximity Summary:
- Track and keep accurate records of who is on-site in the workplace
- Monitor whether employees are complying with social distancing rules
- Monitor whether employees have been in close contact
- Identify workers who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace
We’ll be talking about MotionWorks Proximity in greater detail in a future article coming soon, but to learn more about this solution right away, including how it works and how to arrange a live, virtual demo and workplace site survey, contact us at AbeTech or call 888.682.3113.