Treasury Bureau to Outfit Employees with Contact-Tracing Wearables to Prevent COVID-19 Outbreak

The Treasury Department’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing is set to outfit some in-office employ...

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The Treasury Department’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing is set to outfit some in-office employees with 4G-supported social-distancing wearables to implement a stronger contact tracing program that was launched recently.

Read more: U.S. Military’s AI-Powered Wearable Can Detect COVID-19 Two Days Before You Get Sick

The wearable devices can clip onto an employee’s shirt, lanyard, or belt. When employees are less than six feet apart, the wearable tools will give real-time audible and visual alerts and can notify management about who violated protocol, and at what time. The solutions will be distributed to employees at the East and West Currency facilities via a contract the agency awarded to the commercial vendor Triax Technologies, according to a notice released by the Treasury on Tuesday.

“Mitigating the possible spread of COVID-19 in the facilities has presented BEP with a number of challenges and delays,” officials wrote in the document. “Contact tracing will help minimize risk to our workforce as we move through the next phases of the reopening plan and strategically reintroduce employees back into the facilities.”

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing isn’t the first federal entity to turn to wearables to proactively mitigate potential coronavirus outbreaks among personnel, and recent research suggests some government employees are onboard, reports Nextgov.

The contract for the devices was launched on Feb. 2 with vendor Triax Technologies. The company’s contract-tracing devices transmit employees’ proximity data to the cloud through cellular gateways, with no direct data or network access to BEP systems or networks.

Read more: Singapore To Give Its Citizens Wearable ‘Tokens’ for COVID-19 Contact Tracing

“The need for the service is of such compelling urgency that current policies could impact future efforts as announcements of COVID-19 reports rise throughout the Bureau and surrounding states of the DC area where employees live,” the document said. “The impact of continuing with a manual process could further complicate reporting timely efforts as positive cases are received and slow down production. The Bureau’s desired end state is to replace the existing manual process with a turn-key solution/ tracking social distancing device at both facility locations.”

Sam Draper
February 19, 2021

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