What looks like a thin pack of gum is mounted on Braden Schneider’s event credential at the world junior hockey championship.
It’s a good beacon providing both contact tracing capability if the Canadian defenseman check positive for COVID-19 and a warning if he stands too near someone else for too much time.
“It’s a mandatory element to ensure we’re all safe in these times,” Schneider said. “If that’s among the things we need to do, we’re incredibly privileged and lucky to possibly get the opportunity to arrive here and play.”
TraceSafe’s wearable technology is Hockey Canada’s extra coating of defense against the pass on of the virus at the 12-day, 10-nation tournament, as well as the same cellphone application the NHL used in its Edmonton and Toronto playoff bubbles earlier this year.
That app, which include facial recognition technology, is a self-assessment tool that delivers a code for a temperature check.
The Bluetooth beacon on Schneider’s credential features a tiny red light that flashes if he’s significantly less than 2 meters (6.6 feet) from another person, or if he’s on someone else’s occurrence for more than a quarter-hour. Data can be uploaded via an encrypted network to be used for contact tracing in case of a positive test.
“What we wished to do is be able to trace where people were in accordance with others and we wished to have the ability to set a quarantine period where no person was allowed to leave,” Dean McIntosh, Hockey Canada's vice president of events, told the Canadian Press. “The application didn’t do this for all of us and neither did the daily testing, hence there was a have to find something different and new.”
The technology works in concert with other measures, including daily testing. Hockey Canada employed the same individual Edmonton lab the NHL does to process tests.
Wearing masks is usually mandatory. They are taken off when players and personnel happen to be about to stage on the ice, McIntosh stated.
The trickiest part of managing the virus was when teams found its way to Edmonton on Dec 13.
Everyone wore a good wristband resembling a good hospital bracelet even while quarantined in their resort rooms for five times. A device in their rooms and the wristbands designed a geofence, thus if a new player left his area, the transmission would break and indicate a breach of quarantine.
Those deemed free from the virus after quarantine discarded the wristbands and donned credentials with the beacons to enter the world junior bubble.
Nine German players continued dressed in wristbands and isolating within their resort rooms several more times because of confident tests during quarantine. One player will continue steadily to do hence until Jan. 4.
Who sees the info? An International Ice Hockey Federation official and a representative of the arranging committee can get access to it instantly. Any positive test is definitely reported to Alberta Wellness Services for call tracing to begin.
“We have not had a circumstance since individuals arrived of quarantine, so we haven’t had to employ the TraceSafe technology to recognize close contacts in a positive case on the bubble,” McIntosh stated.
The credential beacon doesn’t create a geofence barrier. More traditional measures ensure no person leaves the resort or arena, including security.
“I don’t think it’s too little trust, but there does come a point in the case where teams will end up being eliminated and maybe here every day and night before they leave, so we’re really trying to guarantee the temptation of leaving the bubble isn’t there,” McIntosh said.