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Despite rising vaccination rates, researchers continue to investigate ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces, and technology companies are creating ways to help workers comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention coronavirus guidelines.
The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is studying whether a watch-like device can alert wearers of subtle physiological changes that may indicate that they have COVID-19 — before clinical signs or symptoms begin. The aim is to prompt wearers to get tested for the virus and if the test is positive to quarantine earlier to prevent the spread.
In similar studies, University of California-San Diego researchers found that collecting temperature data via devices worn on a finger can reliably detect the onset of fever — a leading indicator of COVID-19, as well as the flu. And Mount Sinai Health System in New York found that measuring heart rate variability through an Apple Watch could signal the onset of coronavirus up to seven days before a test-confirmed diagnosis.
Several technology companies have entered the coronavirus safety marketplace with wearables.
Norwalk, Connecticut-based Triax Technologies Inc. released a tracking device to help employers trace the source of a potential COVID-19 outbreak and quarantine workers, while Ithaca, New York-based Iterate Labs Inc. tailored its preexisting wearable technology to alert employees when they come within six feet of a co-worker.
Employers are eager for their workers to get vaccinated and return to the workplace, as questions linger over how they can track who has been vaccinated, whether they should track such information and how they should use it if they do.