Modjoul Blog

Social-Distanced and Still Close-Contact

By Josh Turner on September 9, 2020 |

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On any given day, we are flooded with social distancing references and terminology.  If we stay in, we hear it on tv and read it online.  If we venture out to Publix, Home Depot or our favorite restaurant, there are posted signs and reminders (and even floor markings) guiding us in our 6-feet-apart lifestyle.  Social distancing, also referred to as “physical distancing,” is part of our daily lives.  Its importance is evident, but it cannot be our only security measure.  In your workplace, is it possible to social distance and still be considered close-contact in a trace?  It may surprise you that the answer is yes.

According to the CDC, social distancing is encouraged at 6 feet between individuals.  In reference to a close contact, the CDC states: “For COVID-19, a close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting from 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person had any symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19.”  To guard against a close contact, most companies increase the proximity of a contact event and decrease its duration – example, 10 feet for 10 minutes.  This added measure of safety ensures that if an employee tests positive for COVID-19 and a contact trace is performed, all potentially exposed employees will be notified.  It is better to err on the safer side.

In blue- and white-collar environments, distancing at 6 feet is, on average, not an extremely challenging thing to do.  The social distancing guidelines enforced are more concentrated on controlling traffic and the higher-traffic areas.  The close contact/contact proximity rings often manifest workstation populations or operational setups.   We may initially think that we are safe working 7+ feet from our coworker, whether on a line or in a cubicle.  But in an open-air office or plant, are we not exposed to each other when our desks are 10 feet away from the next person and we spend 2, 3, or even 8 hours in our seats?....what about if our workstations are 9 feet apart but we easily spend 5 or 6 separate 20-minute intervals in those each day?  Looking at your company’s workstation layouts and implementing a contact proximity & trace solution will go a long way in keeping you safe.

The protective thoughts around social/physical distancing are well warranted.  Let us just not forget about the setup of broader proximity rings, with the ability to accurately trace, which will greatly reduce our exposure risk. Together, let’s err on the safer side and continue to create a better workplace.  We all share the responsibility of keeping ourselves safe. For those of us also accountable for the safety of others, Modjoul has the solution to fit your company’s needs.  If you would like to know more, please send us a message or give us a call. 

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