Contact tracing is said to be a necessary part of getting America back to work again. It is part of the guidelines given by the government to help states be able to open faster and get more people to work sooner and to limit the number of new infections. Its main purpose is to be able to notify a person that has come in contact with someone that is known to be infected with the coronavirus.
One of the main reasons for the spread of COVID-19 on a rapid and wide-scale is because no one knows who else is infected. Often the victim does not even know for days – but they are spreading it to others. This tool will help reduce the cases nationwide and alert people when they have come in contact with an infected person so that they may temporarily isolate themselves.
The Usual Means of Contact Tracing
When someone shows up at the doctor’s office with symptoms of coronavirus – or with any other highly communicable disease – medical staff will try to discover who the new patient has had recent contact with over the past couple of days. Contact with each of those people will then be attempted so that they may quarantine themselves to help prevent the spread of the disease.
Although it may partly work, there are several problems with this method. The main one is that people often cannot identify everyone he or she has had close contact with. You go to the store and stand close in line waiting for the cashier to get to you. You have no idea who you are standing next to. The contact tracer has no way to notify those people. To make matters worse, if personal contact must be made, the contact tracer may get infected and then spread the virus before any symptoms show up. States are seeking now to hire thousands of contact tracers, but they are having trouble getting the recommended number of people to do a thorough job.
Benefits of Contact Tracing at Your Workplace
Many business owners today are afraid to open because of coronavirus or because they fear that one of their employees may get the disease and then file a lawsuit. Coronavirus could also spread through the workplace and many employees could get sick – or the owner could get sick. Electronic contact tracing can enable you or your employees to know when there is a risk of exposure and it can provide immediate notification.
Types of Electronic Contact Tracing
One of the biggest problems that people have with contact tracing is that they are afraid that the government will be able to trace everywhere they go. This is not going to happen. Different companies are providing contact tracing apps for individuals. Most of them do not record the whereabouts of people on a 24/7 basis, such as an app issued jointly by Apple and Google. It uses Bluetooth technology to simply notify someone when they come near someone with the virus. No records are kept.
Some systems that are already available do provide GPS tracking and then they report the data to a centralized government hub. Be sure to avoid this type of tracking. The ACLU warns that this type could easily result in legal problems because it could lead to privacy concerns.
Apps for contact tracing have potential limitations. One of them is that if only a few people download it and have their phones turned on, then it is useless. It requires many people to get the app in an area and keeping their phone on when they are at work or going around the community on errands.