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How to Conduct Contract Tracing: A Five-Step Guide

In the current times, contact tracing has emerged as a proven tool to slow the spread of infectious diseases. Consequently, different contact tracing methods are on the rise. Right from choosing manual contact tracing to automated methods, workplace managers have the flexibility to decide which contact tracing method works best for them after considering several factors, such as resource availability, budget, company size, and data and reporting.  

 

As the name suggests, manual contact tracing involves employee interviews to create a timeline of events and interactions. For example, if employee A tests positive, you or someone in your team will need to interview them to create a list of all individuals they have interacted with in the past 14 days. When you opt for automated contact tracing, this exercise is less time-consuming and more effective.

 

In this article, we unpack how decision-makers can execute a contact trace successfully using an automated contact tracing solution:

 

1. Decide on how to proceed with a positive or probable case

In case you have a positive case in your workplace, you’ll need to decide that a trace needs to occur. If you decide that a trace is definitely required to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak in your facility, refer to your organizational guidelines to define the next steps such as temporarily suspending all operations or closing off certain high-traffic areas in your organization. 

 

It is imperative that you move quickly when someone becomes symptomatic to limit the spread of the virus.

2. Extract contact data for the affected individual

Once the decision has been made to conduct a trace, you can look at the dashboard to extract contact and interaction information for the worker. It is advised you pull this information for at least the past 14 days to create a contextualized contact list. 

 

In Safeteams, this data is readily available with a single click.

 

For example, in the above view, you have to select the date range for which you’re pulling the list, input the employee name and download all the relevant information in a matter of seconds.

3. Refine the list

After you’ve extracted the list, you’ll need to shortlist individuals that need to be informed and isolated. These decisions will need to be made on pre-defined parameters. 

 

For example, if the affected individual interacted with employee B over eight times for a total period of seven hours, you need to inform and isolate B, pull the contact tracing report for B, and start at step one of this article again.

Please note that you can customize these decisions based on the frequency and duration of interactions with a positive case of COVID-19. By choosing an automated contact tracing solution like Safeteams, you have the flexibility to make these decisions based on a case-by-case basis.

4. Start making calls

Once you have the individuals' list, you can inform the affected parties, advising them on the next steps. Be clear and precise in your directions. Here’s all you should cover on your call:

  • Let each person know what they need to do: Should they get tested immediately or is it a precautionary measure that can wait for a few days?

  • how long they need to be absent from work: Clearly state how long they should be away from work, whether they test positive or negative.

  • and when they can return to work: after how many negative COVID-19 tests is it safe for them to return to work?

Since employees are missing work, it would also be advisable to reiterate the compensation guidelines. 

 

A few of the questions you can expect are:

  • Will I be paid for my time away from work?

  • Will this time be deducted from my earned paid-time-off?

  • Will I be eligible for health insurance if I test positive?

  • What documentation would you need to process any claims requests?

5. Inform management and security

To ensure affected employees follow safety protocol, it is important on-site personnel are notified. Your managers, reception, and security teams will need to be informed when isolation processes have been initiated for select individuals.

 

Closing thoughts:

Even with these measures in place, contact tracing will remain a reactive measure. However, there is more you can do to maximize the success of your contact tracing initiative. 

 

For example, Safeteams offers a contagion prevention analytics feature that allows you to generate contagion scores per employee. With this data in hand, you can successfully identify individuals who regularly interact with a high number of employees, and are therefore at higher risk. 

 

With this data, you can implement alternative measures such as limit the duration of in-person meetings or substitute in-person contact with virtual meetings wherever possible. This preventive helps you mitigate contagion risk and design data-driven interventions.

 

To learn how you can make data-driven decisions to manage COVID-19 risk at your workplace, join us for our exclusive webinar on March 30. More details right here.

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