As we move towards the 10 month mark of the world’s most unprecedented health crisis, it’s clear that the COVID-19 virus isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, the CDC reports that the percentage of the following has increased since September:
Percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19
Percentage of visits to doctor due to COVID-related illnesses
Hospitalization rates due to COVID-19
To add to this urgency, experts fear that the collision of COVID-19 and this season’s influenza virus may result in a “twindemic,” further putting the health of citizens at an even higher risk, which may very well result in another full lockdown.
COVID-19 Security Measures
Since June, there has been a debate between political leaders on the best practices for reopening the economy and sending our children back to school amid this pandemic. But lack of leadership and confusing online disinformation campaigns have certainly seemed to muddle the situation. This has led to prolonged progress in battling this pandemic. The national infection rates is still sitting way above the acceptable global threshold. And U.S. leaders are still struggling to come together on a unified strategy to help dissipate the crisis. But it’s clear that schools and businesses have to adapt to gain back some semblance of normalcy in their day to days. To recap, here are the key guidelines written by the CDC for re-opening educational institutions:
Communicate, educate, and reinforce appropriate hygiene and social distancing practices in ways that are developmentally appropriate for students, teachers, and staff
Develop a proactive plan for when a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19
Develop a plan with state and local health department to conduct contact tracing in the event of a positive case
Implement multiple mitigation strategies (e.g. social distancing, masks, hand hygiene, etc)
+ many more
New Guidelines and Security Alerts
Reopening businesses has also come with its own set of similar CDC guidelines, some of which are summarized below:
Updated strategies and recommendations for employers responding to COVID-19, including those seeking to resume normal or phased business operations:
Conducting daily health checks
Conducting a hazard assessment of the workplace
Encouraging employees to wear cloth face coverings in the workplace, if appropriate
Implementing policies and practices for social distancing in the workplace
Improving the building ventilation system
A table outlining the engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE) that employers may use to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace
Fighting COVID-19 with Technology
For most school administrations and business owners, implementing these new rules will require a fair amount of outside help. Enforcing contact tracing and social distancing rules for thousands of people sounds extremely daunting. Can you imagine trying to track the daily of that many humans without the assistance of some seriously progressive technology? It would pretty much be impossible. Thankfully, AI is here. And schools and businesses can now have advanced security camera systems that identify problems in real time and send alerts instantly.
Security Alerts for Overcrowding
As we’ve previously explored, our Verkada security camera systems come with an array of capabilities that can dramatically increase the safety and well-being of children and teachers. These same features can also be leveraged to protect employees within a place of business, specifically banks, manufacturing facilities, and any other sector that requires a moderate level of security. One camera feature in particular that will be extremely useful to both schools and businesses reopening their doors according to the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines is Crowd Notifications.
Crowd Notifications deliver real time alerts when more than a certain number of people are detected in a single camera frame. A threshold can be selected. Anywhere from 2-10 people detected in a single frame, which can be customized for each camera. If a camera is pointed at a small space with a Crowd Notification threshold was set to 3, and a group of 4 people or more was caught on frame, an alert would be automatically sent via SMS or email. It includes a still shot image and link to the live footage. A different camera down the hall that is pointing towards a larger space that can fit more people may have a threshold set to 10.
This flexibility in function combined with the powerful people detection technology and instant alerts allows school administrators and business owners to proactively monitor their physical spaces for overcrowding. This gives them the power to quickly deal with risky crowding situations. This helps keeps health and safety at the forefront of operations.
Security Alerts for Other Solutions
Crowd Notifications are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Monarch’s cloud based offerings. These advanced camera systems can be paired with an array of other applications to beef up security and connect operations fully to the cloud: Environmental Sensors to monitor air quality, Access Control to control building access and lockdowns, and even Vibration Monitors to track energy usage and stay on top of equipment issues. All of these applications come with the same sleek alert feature. It sends automatic SMS or email messages to the proper personnel when triggered.
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has broken down our reality. It has forced us to adapt to an entirely new world. The negative effects of this crisis will be far reaching for a long time. So it’s important to try and see the positive effects that are also happening.
Without darkness, there is no light, right?
The rules and changes this pandemic has brought upon us has forced us to do what humans have been doing for thousands of years. Adapt. Our need to adapt quickly to this huge change in our normal routine has forced the creation of advanced technology that otherwise may not have been developed for some time. This technology will allow us to do so much more than just reopen the economy. It’s important to recognize and hold onto that for its infinite uses in life after the pandemic.