Canadian Underwriter

COVID contact tracing is not working, commercial brokerage warns

December 3, 2020   by Greg Meckbach

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COVID fatigue and the difficulty in tracing the close contacts of people who test positive for the novel coronavirus are among the reasons Canada is experiencing such high case counts, an Aon Canada expert suggests.

The Canadian Press reported Thursday there are now 389,775 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada. Quebec reported Wednesday a new single-day high of 1,514 infections as well as 43 new deaths. Case counts and deaths were also high in Ontario, which reported Wednesday 1,723 new infections and 35 deaths due to COVID.

“Right now, there is a lot of COVID transmission in Canada, especially from young people who have COVID fatigue and appear non-chalant,” Robin Daddar, vice president and senior consultant, fleet, safety, health and environment and risk control services at Aon Canada, said in a recent interview.

Daddar was asked Nov. 20 about managing workplace risk during COVID. He was not commenting on the December case counts.

“Attempts at contact tracing are not working,” Daddar said at the time.

For example, the Saskatchewan provincial app has resulted in nine hits so far in eight months, whereas Saskatchewan was recently getting about 300 new cases a day and over 5,000 cases in total, Daddar said Nov. 20 in an interview.

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on Mar. 11, 2020.

Canadian Underwriter asked Daddar whether there been any recent changes to the advice that Aon Canada is giving on workplace safety during COVID.

“Guidance that came out recently said masks have to be at least three layers thick to provide adequate protection,” said Daddar.

In March through May, the emphasis was on hand cleaning and avoiding physical contact.

“Over time, we have learned through experiments that the main route of transmission is airborne droplets, not physical contact – things like coughing and sneezing and even simple conversation between people can spread the virus – hence the issue of indoor contact, especially in areas of poor ventilation,” said Daddar.

Meanwhile, CP reported Dec. 2 that the Ontario government has sent two dozen contact tracers to Windsor as public health officials warn that the region is on the verge of entering lockdown.

Contact tracing through an app only works if the majority of the population is actually using the that app, Daddar said in the interview Nov. 20.

Moreover, a person who is infected would actually have to load that information on to the app.

“The ability to physically (or have written) contact-trace is limited,” said Daddar.

COVID cases are rising exponentially in Canada and the U.S., but not in some places such as New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Iceland, Norway, or Finland and Denmark, said Daddar.

In some most of these places, they enacted powerful lockdown measures and enforced it with their health officials, police, or military, he reported.

“In some places of these countries, if people were ordered to self-isolate for 14 days, after a few days they government would send a health care worker or military member to the residence to make sure the person was self-isolating and did not leave. If they weren’t home, they were fined.”

CP quoted the Ontario Hospital Association Wednesday urging residents to follow public health measures. CP reports that Ontario now has 656 people in hospital due to COVID-19, including 183 in intensive care and 106 people on ventilators. Health experts have previously said having more than 150 patients in intensive care could lead to cancelled surgeries.

“We are not learning from other countries,” Aon Canada’s Daddar told Canadian Underwriter in an interview Nov 20. “The whole idea of health and safety is to learn from the mistakes of others and what they did right and unfortunately, we are not.”

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1 Comment » for COVID contact tracing is not working, commercial brokerage warns
  1. Eric says:

    “Young people” are being non-chalant because they’re practically fully immune. Unlike people, stats don’t lie and don’t have an agenda.

    Google “stats can weekly death count”. The truth will set you free.

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