6/17/21—First detected in India in February, a fast-moving variant is causing concern for upcoming reopening plans in the United Kingdom. Officially known as the Delta variant, the B.1.617.2 strain was only present in about 40 countries last month. Now, it has been identified in over 74 countries. Experts are calculating that the variant is over 40% more transmissible than the Alpha variant. While more data is needed on severity, early indicators show 2.61 times the risk of hospitalization. Fortunately, there is also evidence that existing vaccines are still able to neutralize this strain, according to blood tests run on over 20 fully vaccinated volunteers.
Where concern lies is in the ability to protect unvaccinated and high-risk individuals, especially employees, with reopening just around the corner in many locations. As the United Kingdom plans to lift restrictions on June 21, some worry whether reopening is feasible with the Delta variant now accounting for 91% of new cases. Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson of University College London said that the variant could lead to a “substantial third wave” of COVID-19 infections in the UK. While Delta only accounts for 10% of cases in the United States currently, that number was only 1% last month, showing notable increase.
As restrictions ease in the US, employers’ focus must remain on employee safety. While the CDC’s guidance asserts that vaccinated individuals no longer need to practice prevention measures in public, OSHA’s latest guidance centers on protecting unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk individuals in the workplace. Employers should be prepared to:
- Maintain physical distancing for unvaccinated and at-risk workers in all communal areas
- Utilize face coverings for unvaccinated and at-risk workers unless respirator is needed
- Record and report COVID-19 infections and deaths when applicable
- Provide an anonymous system for workers to report workplace COVID-19 hazards
Employers can help safeguard the vulnerable individuals within their workforce, protect themselves from liability, and stem spread in their communities by implementing a multi-layered system of interventions. Helping improve compliance with health and safety guidelines in the workplace, the AlertTrace system is also the world’s most accurate BLE enabled contact tracing technology. In the event that an employee tests positive, administrators are able to quickly identify an employee’s historical anonymized contacts to make rapid, data-driven decisions.
As AlertTrace wearables seamlessly collect data throughout the day, they also notify wearers immediately when they are within range of another user. Customizable visual, audible or vibration alerts notify users of any unintended breaches of social distancing, and configurable distance options are tailored to your environment. In past AlertTrace deployments, employee compliance with COVID guidelines has improved by more than 80%, helping employers minimize the hazard the virus presents in the workplace.
Implementing a digital solution to speed up, streamline, and solidify mitigation efforts makes things simple, taking the guesswork out of protecting employees. AlertTrace data helps administrators to list and report workplace infections when required by OSHA, without compromising employee privacy. And when AlertTrace data is used to detect trends of infection and enact reactive protocols – like strategically reorganizing shifts, restructuring activities or providing targeted education – employees and leadership can move forward with confidence. Contact us today to learn how you can implement the AlertTrace system for your team.