Why Companies Need Contact Tracing
1. Your employees demand it
2. There is no vaccine
3. A COVID-positive case is probably going to happen
4. You might get sued
Employees Demand It
For non-essential businesses, many employees have gotten used to working from home and they are understandably anxious about returning to the workplace, indoors, with many people, pre-vaccine. They have two essential questions:
• How will you ensure that only healthy people are allowed into the workplace?
• If a COVID-positive person is discovered, will you be able to tell me quickly if I was in the same room?
Many companies have conducted surveys to gauge the return-to-work-receptiveness of their COVID-remote workforce and they're finding resistance. Employees feel safe working from home and are not ready to potentially expose themselves to more COVID risk by commuting to an office filled with co-workers. Employee peace of mind will have a direct impact on both the willingness to return to the office, and on productivity once they return.
Even when there is a vaccine that is widely trusted, how will you know who has taken it and who hasn't? Returning to the workplace is more than just entering your facilities. For many, it involves a commute that also potentially exposes them to the COVID virus. People stop to get coffee. They use public transportation. Some ride in elevators and escalators. They encounter strangers and surfaces that don't exist at home. The potential for exposure is much greater going to and from work. Until your employees have confidence in a widespread vaccine, they are going to demand workplace safety precautions like contact tracing.
A COVID-Positive Case Is Probably Going To Happen
"It's better to have it and not need it...than to need it and not have it." As I write this article, there are over 8M COVID cases, and over 220,000 deaths in the United States. Still, not everyone believes these numbers. Not everyone believes they should wear a mask, keep a social distance of 6 feet, and wash their hands frequently. And when a proven vaccine is widely available, not everyone is going to take it. This all adds up to the same conclusion: The prudent operational plan assumes a positive COVID event is going to happen and prepares accordingly. If an outbreak can happen at the White House, it can happen anywhere.
You Might Get Sued
Obviously, nobody wants to go to work and get sick. And if someone thinks they contacted the virus at one of your facilities, they will not be happy. COVID is a different kind of sickness and it's prudent to be as legally protected as possible. Demonstrating proactive, diligent contact tracing can both prevent, and mitigate, negative COVID consequences.