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Abbotsford care home participates in COVID-19 contact-tracing pilot project

The Oxford Senior Care uses ‘wearables’ to track movements of staff and residents
The Oxford Senior Care private care home in Abbotsford is part of a COVID-19 contact-tracing pilot project through the company Vantage. (Facebook photo)

A private care home in Abbotsford is the first in Canada to be involved in a pilot project involving COVID-19 contact tracing through the Vancouver-based company Vantage.

The Oxford Senior Care, located on Sherwood Crescent, has begun using Vantage’s automated contact tracing and health-screening system.

The Oxford is owned and operated by The Care Group, which provides long-term care, assisted-living and independent-living services throughout B.C.

Gavin McIntosh, The Care Group’s vice-president of operations and finance, said they decided to use the Vantage real-time locating systems (RTLS) at The Oxford because they realized that safety protocols – such as personal protective equipment – are “only part of the solution in controlling the spread of the virus.”

The new technology provides “smart wearable” that all residents and staff can wear while they are in the home.

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Small readers placed throughout the property trace the wearables and know where they have been, if they have been in the same space as another wearable, and for how long.

If an infection is reported, administrators can use Vantage’s real-time dashboard to run a trace of the identified individual in adherence with privacy rules.

“The minute we know of a reported case, we can trace everywhere that person travelled in our building, and who they were in contact with. We can now prioritize testing and immediately identify those who need to self-isolate,” McIntosh said.

Dr. Adriaan Windt, medical director at The Oxford Senior Care, said this adds another layer of protection to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care.

“This information is invaluable in the event of an outbreak as it will provide a view into who may have been exposed to a virus or bacteria and for how long. This should enhance our ability to manage the risk and exposure from an outbreak,” Windt said.

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This is the second contact-tracing pilot for Vantage. The first launched in November at Harbor House, a senior assisted-living facility in Long Island, NY.

The RTLS technology was originally designed for water parks, and Vantage president Philip Edgell said the beauty of it is that it can easily be repurposed for other uses.

“When the pandemic started, we looked at how our technology might be able to help. It turns out the way we understand a water park visitor’s behaviour can also be used to contact trace visitors, staff, and residents in facilities such as senior homes and offices,” he said.