contact tracing ontario

Ontario backs new bracelet that beeps if people aren't physically distanced enough

In an attempt to ensure workplaces stay as COVID-19 free as possible amid the province's reopening, the Ontario government is investing in some new technology that will help people stay at least six feet apart.

Premier Ford and his team have endorsed a wearable bracelet from Toronto tech company Facedrive that can alert an entire office or worksite if an employee tests positive for the virus, as well as if if coworkers are close enough together to pose a health and safety risk.

Much like the feds' COVID Alert app, the band — which resembles a Fitbit — contact traces using Bluetooth, not GPS location information or other private data. 

It beeps and buzzes with notifications that range from exposure warnings to recommendations to either quarantine or self-monitor for respiratory symptoms, and will be especially useful in settings where people can't frequently check their COVID alert app, such as on planes, in schools and on construction sites.

If a case is indeed confirmed in a workplace setting, the device's TraceSCAN technology makes it easy for management to track who the infected person came into close contact with.

Doug Ford touts the concept as another example of how "our world class innovation and manufacturing sectors continue to step up with Ontario-made solutions to help us all fight COVID-19."

The province is investing $2.5 million in the tech — which is already being used by companies like Air Canada — through the Ontario Together Fund, which will allow FaceDrive and its partner, the University of Waterloo, to manufacture 150,000 devices locally.

Maybe they can eventually load all of our digital IDs on there, too.

Lead photo by

Government of Ontario

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