There are four elements that make up a complete COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Program: Personal Safety, Screening, Testing, and Vaccination.
Screening is the second element and is critical to the safety and success of your pandemic program.
There are two types of screening processes:
Passive Screening: Staff and visitors are asked to review the COVID -19 Assessment questions. However, the results, name, and contact information are not recorded.
2. Active Screening asks the same assessment questions; however, the results, name, and contact information are recorded for contact tracing.
The purpose of Screening is twofold:
1. To identify and prevent people that are at risk from entering the workplace.
2. To record and maintain an accurate list of all staff and essential visitors who have entered the workplace for quick contact tracing in the event of a positive case or outbreak to prevent a larger outbreak from occurring.
The method of Screening is another important factor as there is a crucial difference between
using a paper system (contact) versus a digital system (contactless). People generally feel anxious about sharing a pen or paper touched and used by other people. Managers and staff do not want to sort papers touched by others. A digital system, using QR code-activated web apps to enter and record COVID-19 assessment information, has almost no risk to staff or managers. The database can be immediately accessed to create contact lists based on the timeframe in question reducing the risk and time needed to sort through paper records.
In the event of a COVID-19 positive report from a staff member or visitor to the site, the business must immediately notify Public Health to begin contract tracing. Ontario legislation was amended
September 25, 2020, mandating that businesses must record their screening efforts due to the 3-5 day delay Public Health experienced in receiving the valuable contact information they needed. This significant time delay allowed single exposures to become a much larger outbreak, which not only impacted the operations and reputation of the business but also put a significant strain on our healthcare system. If a digital system with a database is used, a report could be generated immediately and sent to Public Health and therefore a larger outbreak could be prevented.
The recommended components of a screening program are:
· Digital with QR code access for ease of use by staff, customers, and essential visitors
· Quick and easy to complete on desktop or mobile
· Contactless or paperless
· Easy access database with filtering and sorting capabilities
· Customizable for multiple sites and departments
· Limited onboarding requirements
· Easy payment terms with no contract
Let’s beat COVID-19 and work safely!
Scott Ashley, President and CEO of Get READY