13 Investigates


New app to improve safety, help track worker symptoms, exposure to COVID-19

Posted at 7:39 PM, Aug 03, 2020

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — There is a new app now available which is touted as being a tool to help track employee symptoms and exposure to COVID-19 while keeping businesses open during the pandemic.

The crisis on how to find and treat COVID-19 patients continues to allude elected officials across the United States.

Many states, including Nevada, have reopened certain sectors of economic industries and resulted in massive spikes of COVID-19 cases.

CORONAVIRUS: Confirmed cases in Clark County, what's happening around the state

In June and into July, Nevada has recorded its single highest one-day climbs of known COVID-19 cases.

This comes as casinos and gaming establishments have reopened and welcomed visitors back to Las Vegas.

The powerful Culinary Union Local 226 continues to apply pressure to elected officials, state agencies, and companies to enact tougher safety measures to protect nearly 60,000 member workers.

The union tells 13 Investigates the situation has become grim for their membership.

"It's gone up 860% of the hospitalizations right now," said Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Arguello-Kline in an interview with 13 investigates in late July.

Arguello-Kline says the spike occurred since the reopening of gaming establishments on June 4.

She says more than 350 members have been hospitalized for COVID-19 complications and at least 26 members or their immediate family members have died after contracting the novel coronavirus.

People like Aldolfo Fernandez.

In late June, 13 Investigates spoke with Aldolfo's family outside their home during a memorial.

"My father was 100% ok, he was safe here in the house, always and I have proof he was negative before he set a foot in that company, and I will fight for his honor and for every employee in that building for their safety," said Irma Fernandez on June 26.

The Fernandez family is calling for changes to make workers safer.

"No one wants to shut down again because you didn't take the steps that could have taken," said Harry Soza, CEO of CAREMINDr.

CAREMINDr is a Silicon Valley-based company that has developed an app program that can help track possible COVID-19 symptoms for employees and direct them to care before they can expose others to the virus.

"It's an early warning system because if somebody does show up with a case that looks like it could be positive, [the employer] would find that and [the employer] could inform the local health authorities," explained Soza.

Soza explains the app depends on employers partnering with CAREMINDr to allow employees to download the app onto their smartphones.

After registering, the employee inputs some basic information including birth year, gender, and first and last initials.

The employee would load the app a couple of hours before every shift and answer a series of questions such as:

  • Have you traveled out of the state?
  • What is your current body temperature?
  • Do you have shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Have you lost your sense of taste or smell

The answers would be recorded, time-stamped, and sent to CAREMINDr's clinical review center which would flag any potential responses for employers to review.

Depending on the symptoms and the individual company's human resources protocols, the employer may contact the employee with additional inquires or instructions such as receiving a COVID-19 test or recommend quarantining at home and monitoring systems.

The goal, Soza says, is to prevent sick employees from spreading the virus at work to others.

"The confidence can come if you know that everyone is on the same regime, they're all reporting data, and the data is being captured somewhere, it's being monitored, and someone is checking in on that," explained Soza.

Soza says his company is in walks with Unions in Atlantic City, New Jersey, which represents hospitality and casino workers there.

"The unions want to be sure that their employees, their members are safe, the employers want to know that their buildings are being protected and for the public to go walking in there: the public wants to know that somebody's doing the right thing," said Soza.

Soza says the app is a proactive approach that can cut down on time and money spent by human resources representatives to check in with employees and the program can be tailored for businesses large and small.

CAREMINDr says required personal information is extremely limited to protect identities and risk of data breaches.

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