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How contact tracing safeguards public health

How contact tracing safeguards public health
Contact tracing, by definition, traces individuals who might have come in contact with an infected person. Amid covid-19, the technology has become an important tool to safeguard public health.
Contact tracing, by definition, traces individuals who might have come in contact with an infected person. Amid covid-19, the technology has become an important tool to safeguard public health.
 
Needless to say, covid-19 has become a global pandemic that has affected millions across the world. By the time of this article’s publish, covid-19 has infected over 6 million and killed over 370,000, and the numbers are likely to keep increasing in the near term.
 
Against this backdrop, governments and end user entities across the globe have set the prevention and control of the disease a top priority. This is particularly important as certain countries where the disease has shown signs of slowing down seek to reopen shops and businesses.
 
An important tool in this regard is contact tracing – upon learning of an individual’s real or potential infection, those he might have come in contact with can be identified quickly and dealt with. “If someone is infectious, it’s obviously important to limit the amount of people they come into contact with which in turn will help drive down the R value to much less than 1 – the ‘R rate’ of reinfection,” said John Davies, MD of TDSi. “This will ensure that the rate of infection declines steadily over time and thus minimizes the risk of a second exponential wave of infections in the community.”
 

How access control plays a role

 
There are several ways contact tracing can be done. One is by way of video surveillance, where video analytics can identify people who have come into contact with the infected individual.
 
Access control, meanwhile, can also play an important role. “Access control keeps detailed records of movement through controlled doors, so it can help if an employee has tested positive for covid-19 (or has a suspected infection), by providing details of other people that were in the vicinity and may have come into contact with them,” Davies said.
 
TDSi’s Track and Trace solution, for example, helps organizations investigate and map the movement of people potentially infected with covid-19 (or any other dangerous pathogen), so those who have come into potential contact can isolate or seek medical testing/assistance.
 
“The TDSi solution does not test if somebody is infected, but rather relies on this information being provided by medical testing or diagnosis. However, once this has been established, the TDSi Track and Trace solution allows an organization to see which secured access points the person has used over a defined period of time,” Davies said.
 
According to Davies, the solution is uniquely positioned in the market to serve contact tracing purposes. “As far as TDSi is aware, this is the only such solution which uses the access control system to trace potential covid-19 infection. Other solutions are being trialed and used that use mobile phone devices and specific apps, which have to be installed and accessed to make them work. TDSis solution uses existing TDSi hardware and systems, simply requiring a free software download to update it,” said Davies, adding that the solution can benefit a variety of end user entities including office and business premises, factories and logistics centers, utilities sites, schools and hospitals/healthcare centers.
 
Davies further assures that there are no privacy issues associated with this solution. “Any data being used is already being processed and stored by the access control system anyway. The data will already be subject to the company’s information protection regime and any data on the people involved (included the suspected infectious person and anyone they may have come into contact with) will be anonymous to those outside the team running the investigation process,” he said.


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