Hockey

A wearable tech defense vs COVID-19 in world juniors bubble

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EDMONTON, Alta. (AP) – What looks like a thin bundle of chewing gum is attached to Braden Schneider’s accreditation at the World Junior Hockey Championship.

It is a beacon providing both a contact tracing capability if the Canadian advocate tests positive for COVID-19 and a warning if they stand too close to someone else for too long.

“It’s a mandatory thing to make sure we’re all safe in these times,” Schneider said. “If that’s one of the things that we have to do, we’re very privileged and lucky to even have the chance to come here and play.

TraceSafe’s wearable technology is Hockey Canada’s extra layer of defense against the spread of the virus in the 12-day, 10-nation tournament, in addition to the same cell phone app the NHL used in its Edmonton playoff bubbles and Toronto earlier this year.

This app, which includes facial recognition technology, is a self-assessment tool that provides code for temperature monitoring.

The Bluetooth beacon on Schneider’s credentials has a small red light that flashes if it is within 2 meters (6.6 feet) of another person or in the presence of someone else. ‘other for more than 15 minutes. The data is uploaded via an encrypted network to be used for contact tracing in the event of a positive test.

“What we wanted to do was be able to trace where people were in relation to others and we wanted to be able to set a quarantine period where no one was allowed to leave,” said Dean McIntosh , Hockey Canada’s vice-president of events, at the Canadiens. Hurry. “The app didn’t do that for us and neither did the daily tests, so it was necessary to find something different and new.”

The technology works in concert with other metrics, including daily testing. Hockey Canada hired the same private Edmonton lab as the NHL to process the tests.

Wearing masks is compulsory. They are removed when players and staff are about to step on the ice, McIntosh said.

The trickiest part of dealing with the virus was when the teams arrived in Edmonton on December 13.

Everyone wore a bracelet resembling a hospital bracelet in quarantine in their hotel room for five days. A device in their rooms and the bracelets created a geofence, so if a player left their room, the signal would break and indicate a quarantine violation.

Those found to be free from the virus after the quarantine threw away the bracelets and donned the credentials with the tags to enter the global junior bubble.

Nine German players continued to wear bracelets and isolate themselves in their hotel rooms for several more days due to positive tests during quarantine. One player will continue to do so until January 4.

Who sees the data? An official of the International Ice Hockey Federation and a representative of the organizing committee can access it in real time. Any positive test is reported to Alberta Health Services for contact tracing to begin.

“We haven’t had a case since individuals got out of quarantine, so we haven’t had to use TraceSafe technology to identify close contacts in a positive case in the bubble,” McIntosh said.

The identification tag does not create a geographic barrier. More traditional measures ensure that no one leaves the hotel or arena, including security.

“I don’t think it’s a lack of confidence, but there comes a point in the event where the teams will be eliminated and maybe here for 24 hours before they leave, so we really try to guarantee the temptation to leave the bubble. is not there, ”McIntosh said.

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