ReturnSafe’s Command Center helps HR leaders to quickly visualize risk, to cost-effectively prevent and manage outbreaks and to reduce healthcare costs
AUSTIN, TEXAS — April 6, 2021 — ReturnSafe, the holistic software solution for infectious disease management (IDM) helping businesses reopen and stay open, today announced the launch of its Command Center. This integrated, comprehensive digital platform equips employers with the data and tools they need to prevent and manage infectious disease outbreaks in the workplace while keeping their employees safe, healthy, and confident in returning to physical spaces. Features such as vaccine management, symptom screening, testing data, contact tracing data, and isolation and quarantine case management give employers a 360-degree view of risk across their workforces and physical locations. These tools also enable them to easily comply with new COVID-19 guidelines and regulations regarding safe reopening of the workplace.
“The current reality is that experts predict COVID-19 will reach endemic status, just like the seasonal flu. It’s urgent that we create long-term solutions to address the future of infectious disease management in the workplace. Our economy and collective mental health depend on it,” said Tarun Nimmagadda, CEO and Co-Founder of ReturnSafe. “Existing methods to manage employee safety were either manual or COVID-washed band-aids of existing solutions. Employers are realizing that they will need more scalable solutions to navigate the next phases of the virus, and our COVID-19 Command Center is the only solution 100 percent guided by people living through the experience.”
Implementing Command Center will enable employers to develop data-driven return-to-work strategies for an inevitably, mixed-immunity population. The new platform is designed to help employers efficiently manage COVID-19 case workflows and reduce the logistical burden of manual processes, which often lead to missed information and increased risk.
“We’ve been using ReturnSafe for almost eight months. It has been a core element of our layered strategy to keep our faculty, staff, and students safe, and most recently, to track our university community’s progress toward our vaccination goals,” said John Montgomery, Chief Information Technology Officer at Madonna University. “We have tightly coordinated with the ReturnSafe team each step of the way. Command Center is directly based on feedback from our university and others managing this pandemic. Its intuitive and trustworthy digital platform will help eliminate the need to manually manage contact tracing data with a spreadsheet. I highly recommend the ReturnSafe technology and team to any workplace or organization attempting to navigate this tricky landscape.”
Businesses using ReturnSafe’s Command Center have access to:
Case Management: All data entries and information is compiled in one dashboard, displaying employees with potential, active, or cleared cases of COVID-19. Administrators have access to all the information needed to efficiently manage outbreaks, ensuring teams are following prescribed safety protocols.
Test Management: Employers’ external testing providers can now directly upload employee test results into the Command Center Dashboard. Administrators can utilize this information to take immediate action when there is a positive test, and quickly update employees’ building access abilities.
Vaccine Management: As employers navigate mixed-immunity workforces, this tool provides a report on important employee vaccination information, including vaccine provider, date, location and eventual booster status. This feature also includes employee sentiment surveys, where administrators can gauge attitudes toward taking the vaccination among their workforce, providing meaningful insights for creating programs to address employee concerns.
“By implementing Command Center, HR leaders will be able to achieve dual business outcomes by avoiding losses due to closure and to reduce overall healthcare costs for their employee population. Employee confidence and morale is also significantly improved,” said Jikku Venkat, Chief Technology Officer, Vice President of Product, and Co-Founder of ReturnSafe. “After facing more than a year of unimaginable loss, the last thing workers should be concerned about is returning to an unsafe environment in order to keep food on the table.”
ReturnSafe is on a mission to prevent and reduce the spread of infectious diseases at workplaces and schools. In just six short months, ReturnSafe has amassed more than 60 customers – including Sesame Workshop, San Antonio Spurs, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and several universities and schools – and protected the lives of more than 20,000 employees and stakeholders.
About ReturnSafe ReturnSafe is a holistic software solution for infectious disease management (IDM) that is helping businesses, universities, healthcare facilities, sports teams and major venues businesses reopen and stay open. Its end-to-end platform provides daily health screening, exposure notification, and contact tracing and case management for COVID-19 and other contagious diseases. ReturnSafe is based in Austin, TX and backed byFifty Years, Necessary Ventures and Active Capital. To help keep everyone in your organization safe with human-driven, technology-supported solutions, visit www.returnsafe.com.
Check out our blog posts below to learn about our customers’ COVID-19 journeys and to get the latest health and safety updates. Scroll down to watch our latest webinar on best practices for reopening sports and entertainment venues and preview our new product features.
Vaccination Day at Redstone Highlands: Tips to Encourage Adoption
Redstone was able to successfully double their vaccine adoption rate. Check out our blog to find out how you can overcome vaccine hesitancy. Read more
What Employers Need to Know About the New COVID-19 Variants
What should employers know about the new COVID-19 variants? Read our blog to learn more about the variants and how they can impact your workplace operations. Read more
Watch Now: NCS4 Webinar
Sports and Entertainment venues want to deliver a safe and enjoyable experience for fans. Watch the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) webinar featuring our team and ParkHub to find out how organizations like the Spurs are utilizing technology to confidently reopen. Watch Now
Are you looking for screening, contact tracing, testing, case management, and vaccine management tools for your organization? Book a demo to learn more about our solution!
ReturnSafe’s end-to-end software solution for infectious disease management offers businesses, universities, healthcare facilities, sports teams and major venues the tools needed to successfully reopen and stay open.
AUSTIN, TEXAS – March 01, 2021 – ReturnSafe, the holistic software solution for infectious disease management (IDM) helping businesses reopen and stay open, today announces that the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the largest private biomedical research institution in the United States, has licensed ReturnSafe’s daily health screening app for use at HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia.
ReturnSafe In Virginia
The state of Virginia has a unique set of workplace safety requirements that incorporate many of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and are stricter than most other states. Virginia requirements include daily screening for COVID-19 symptoms for certain employers. ReturnSafe’s app provides a solution for Virginia’s requirements.
ReturnSafe can be used to conduct daily health screenings to maintain compliance. Staff cleared to come to the workplace receive a unique PIN code they use to enter and access the operational building and research facilities.
“ReturnSafe’s mission is to ensure that businesses can keep their workers safe, now and into the future,” said Tarun Nimmagadda, Chief Executive Officer of ReturnSafe. “This pandemic has completely upended our lives. Millions of people have lost jobs. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives. It’s forced us into our homes. It’s kept us away from our loved ones. Returning to any sense of normalcy is going to be a challenge, but it’s never been more urgent. Our world and our workplaces may never be the same again, but we have an opportunity to create new norms to prevent this type of devastation.”
The ReturnSafe Platform
Beyond a daily health screening app, ReturnSafe offers businesses, universities, healthcare facilities, sports teams and major venues an end-to-end solution that includes:
A daily screener that screens for symptoms, exposure and travel to ensure only people meeting the ReturnSafe criteria can access the building.
A testing dashboard providing rapid notifications of positive test results, a requirement for mitigating contagion in fast-moving environments, especially important when lab responses are slow.
High-resolution contact-tracing leveraging existing mobile and wearable devices with built-in social distancing alarms, one of the most needed solutions in active environments.
Case management to manage workflow and communications for employees in isolation and quarantine, eliminating manual spreadsheets which are error prone and hard to manage.
Vaccine management for employers to oversee workplace immunity without compromising employee safety and privacy, the most recent addition to the platform.
Born out of CoronaTrace.org, an open-source contact tracing system for COVID-19, ReturnSafe is on a mission to prevent and reduce the spread of infectious diseases at workplaces and schools. In just six short months, ReturnSafe has amassed more than 60 customers – including Sesame Workshop, Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and several universities and schools – and protected the lives of over 20,000 employees and stakeholders.
ReturnSafe is a holistic software solution for infectious disease management (IDM) that is helping businesses, universities, healthcare facilities, sports teams and major venues businesses reopen and stay open. Its end-to-end platform provides daily health screening, exposure notification, and contact tracing and case management for COVID-19 and other contagious diseases. ReturnSafe is based in Austin, TX and backed by Fifty Years, Necessary Ventures and Active Capital. To help keep everyone in your organization safe with human-driven, technology-supported solutions, visit https://www.returnsafe.com.
What should employers know about the new variants of COVID-19? How should management teams prepare for an increased number of cases?
News and Updates on the COVID-19 Variants
There are 3 new, highly transmissible variants: B.1.1.7 (UK), B1.351 or 501Y.V2 (South Africa), and P.1 (Brazil)
There is concern the COVID-19 variant mutations will have slightly weakened protection from the vaccines
We are not sure how effective certain viral tests are at identifying the variants
What businesses should know about the arrival of the new variants
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) website provides information and updates related to the COVID-19 variants.
What is a variant?
Viruses are constantly mutating and, over time, they can become variants. Some emerging variants disappear and others persist.
What do we know about the new variants?
Currently three variants of the virus have been identified in the U.S. which spread more easily and faster than previous variants.
UK Variant: What you need to know
One of the first variants to arrive in the US was the UK variant identified last fall. This variant is also referred to as B.1.1.7. According to CDC reports, this is expected to become the dominant variant in March.
Recent studies in the UK report that this variant may be more fatal than others. Further research is needed to confirm this. The variant was first detected in a US case last December.
South Africa Variant: What you need to know
The South African variant is known as B1.351 or 501Y.V2 and was first identified last October. This variant was first detected in a US case in late January.
Brazil Variant: What you need to know
The Brazil variant, also known as P.1, was identified in Brazilian travelers at an airport in Japan in January. Additional mutations in this variant may impact it being identifiable by antibodies. The mutations present a danger of reinfection and potential diminished vaccine efficacy if the variant is able evade our immune system. This variant was first detected in a US case in late January.
What we don’t know about the variants
Will the new variants impact the efficacy of the vaccine?
According to nature, scientists are still debating whether the new variants will impact the effectiveness of the current COVID-19 vaccines. There are vaccine developers that plan to update their shots to target the variants.
According to CNBC, the FDA may eliminate the lengthy clinical trial requirement for COVID-19 vaccines modified to work against the variants. Pfizer and Moderna are already working on modifying their vaccines given the variants and the current mutation rate. HR managers should monitor the variants that enter their workplace. They should have a system to keep track who has been vaccinated with the current vaccine and who receives the variant modified vaccines.
Further research is needed to identify how effectively the current vaccines work against the UK, Brazil, and South Africa variants.
Do the new variants impact the accuracy of COVID-19 tests?
The FDA has noted that the new COVID-19 variants may cause molecular tests to generate false negatives. Further studies are needed to identify the impact each new variant may have on the accuracy of COVID-19 tests.
Proactive health safety measures can help you prevent outbreaks
Health screening for work should be a requirement, if not already
Health screenings for work should be a requirement to ensure employee safety. Businesses will need to implement multiple health safety measures to manage the new variants and increased COVID-19 cases. Even organizations without state, local, or public health screening guidelines should make screening employees a requirement to prevent outbreaks,
Logging close contacts in the workplace is essential before employees report positive for a rapid response
California’s OSHA requires employers send exposure notifications to employees, contractors, and other employers within 24 hours. These notifications are to inform them that they were exposed to someone infected COVID-19. All business owners should send notifications to potentially exposed employees as soon as possible to prevent outbreaks.
Employers should have access to a platform where they can easily see which employees were exposed to the virus. Additionally, employees should be able to easily report their close contacts to create a safe and healthy workplace.
Encouraging and tracking vaccine adoption can help you achieve herd immunity
Despite what we don’t know about how vaccine efficacy is impacted by variants, it is still best to get vaccinated. The current vaccines will still have the benefit of strengthening your immune system overall and potentially lessen the impact of a COVID-19 variant infection. As Dr. Fauci notes, the vaccines provide protection from the virus and prevent emergence of new variants. Widespread vaccination is crucial to prevent new strains and mutations.
Time to review your safety protocols and ensure they will meet this new challenge
In the next few months, you will see a dramatic rise in cases due to the variants. Employers should feel confident that their pandemic safety program can handle it. Companies that do not prepare may face losses in productivity.
If your current process is manual, you will need more employees to manage the information. As the variants spread and new cases arise, you will need to hire more employees. Are you currently using paper-based screening surveys and manual contact tracers? Automating these processes can be more cost-effective and enables management to take action in real time to prevent outbreaks.
If your current solution is digital, does it meet all your needs? Employers should evaluate their current solution to ensure it meets all their pandemic safety requirements. Does their screening solution encourage and track compliance? Are administrators easily able to track close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases?
Employers, especially those for larger organizations should consider risk mitigation strategies. A broad based testing program allows organizations to identify asymptomatic cases and infection hotspots. Finally, employers should have a system in place to keep track of vaccines and workplace immunity levels.
We collected a few pieces this month to highlight key features and best practices for screening, testing, and contact tracing. These tools can help you prevent outbreaks as we wait for the vaccines and prepare for variants to surge in March.
UPCOMING: FREE WEBINAR
Join us, National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4), Parkhub, and Spurs Sports & Entertainment for a free webinar on Event Staff Safety and the Contactless Service Experience. Register here
Best Practices and Options for Employee COVID-19 Testing
HR leaders should consider implementing a COVID-19 testing program to prevent outbreaks. Check out our blog to learn more about employee testing options and best practices. Read more
What to Include in Employee Screening for COVID-19?
Employee screening is essential for keeping high risk individuals out of the workplace. Take a look at our blog to learn more about COVID-19 screening requirements, guidelines, and key components. Read more
Easily Comply with Cal/OSHA AB 685
An Infectious Disease Management platform should give employees a sense of ease knowing that their employer is taking their health seriously. Use this checklist to evaluate each option. Download here
Are you looking for screening, contact tracing, testing, and vaccine management tools for your organization? Book a demo to try them out!
Like most organizations, you probably have a daily health screening solution to ensure that only employees that meet your return to work criteria have access to the facility. However, screening alone does not protect your community from the silent spread of infection. Employees infected with COVID-19 but are pre-symptomatic and those that are infected but are asymptomatic may unintentionally spread the virus at your workplace.
An employee COVID-19 testing program is a vital addition to preventing outbreaks. Even though a vaccine rollout is underway, the new highly transmissible variants on the rise threaten workplace safety. Given these circumstances, you should update your safety protocols to include a broad-based testing program to ease the concerns of staff and patrons.
There are three different methods organizations can utilize for employee COVID-19 testing: at home tests, on-site testing, and off-site testing. This blog evaluates each option and reviews overall best practices for testing in the workplace.
Can You Mandate Employee COVID-19 Testing?
Yes, the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commision (EEOC) states that employers may administer COVID-19 tests to keep workplaces safe. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires that mandatory medical tests of employees are “job related and consistent with business necessity”. According to the ADA, if employers administer tests according to current CDC guidance then this meets the “business necessity” standard.
PCR versus Antigen
You should evaluate which type of COVID-19 test would work best for your organization. Currently there are two types of diagnostic tests for COVID-19, PCR and Antigen. PCR tests are the gold standard in terms of accuracy. However, these tests are generally more expensive and take longer to deliver results than Antigen.
Antigen tests are more accurate if the operator is someone already experienced with the testing system. Organizations can use theBD Veritor System to improve accuracy. Due to demand for this system by the federal government this system is not always accessible.
Another option is to use both Antigen and PCR Tests. You can use Antigen as your primary test and PCR as the secondary test if you suspect a false positive. In this case, you can use PCR to verify the result, so you don’t lose employee productivity.
You should evaluate which diagnostic test works best for your organization. Once you have decided, the next step is to decide on the best testing method.
Type of test
What it detects
Level of Accuracy
Time to Results
Detects specific proteins from the active virus
$5 – $35
Detects active virus genetic material
$65 – $150
At Home Testing
Employees can order and self-administer at home tests. This can be a benefit for companies that wish not to be directly involved in employee COVID-19 testing. The turnaround time for at home tests ranges from a few minutes to a few days. Employees and human resource administrators should ensure these testing providers have obtained anFDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
A drawback of at-home tests is that administrators cannot verify the designated employee self-administered a COVID-19 test. These tests also vary greatly in terms of accessibility. For example, theBinaxNOW™ test by Abbot is hard to access given the demand for these tests by the federal government.
The test’s accuracy is also dependent on the employee’s administration. Administrators concerned about accuracy and compliance should choose tests that are relatively easy to use.
Experienced professionals administer on-site tests to employees at a work site. As opposed to at-home tests, human resources can verify that the operators administered COVID-19 tests to the right employee. On-site testing encourages compliance since employees can access the resource at work.
Companies that test on-site create a positive and trusting work environment. Employees feel supported when businesses are proactive about health and safety.
On-site testing is a great option for essential businesses and other high-risk organizations. In these industries, administrators must confirm employees received the right test and react immediately to positive test results. On-site testing is also the best option for businesses with a large number of employees.
A disadvantage of on-site testing is that businesses are taking on the responsibility of testing. When on-site testing, you must ensure that your labs are following the appropriate sanitation and privacy protocol. Additionally, you must adhere to federal guidelines regarding on-site testing.
If your company wishes to do on-site testing, you must adhere to federal mandates for employee COVID-19 testing. Businesses must obtain aCLIA license or hire an organization with a mobileCLIA lab certificate to do on-site testing.
External testing providers, outside of an organization’s worksite, provide off-site testing for employees. Similar to on-site tests, professionals can confirm that the right employees received the COVID-19 test. Off-site testing centers often have better equipment than those on-site, which can improve the accuracy of test results. Best of breed off-site testing centers assess employee COVID-19 tests as soon as possible.
There are some issues that can arise with off-site testing. For example, an employee COVID-19 testing location separate from your worksite may be inaccessible. If employees have to travel outside of work for a test this might diminish compliance. Additionally, off-site testing is less effective if there is a slow turnaround time.
When evaluating a solution, you should consider which testing options are best fit for your organization in the long-term.
No matter which option you choose, employers need a solution for managing the entire testing process. TheCDC’s guidance encourages testing employees with COVID-19 symptoms or potential exposure.
You should encourage all employees reporting symptoms or exposure to seek testing. In addition, you should consider establishing a broad-based testing program for everyone’s safety. This program should allow you to see positive test results immediately.
An effective test management system should also integrate with a contact tracing solution. This solution should provide a list of the close contacts of employees infected with COVID-19 and their contact information. Once you have this information, your team should send the appropriate advisories to these employees as soon as possible to prevent further infection.
Beyond a strong diagnostic testing system, employers should use testing as a risk mitigation tool. Companies can regularly test all or a sample of employees to identify high-risk areas of infection at the workplace. This process is known as surveillance testing. Surveillance testing also allows employers to capture potentially asymptomatic employees.
As an HR leader, you should have one centralized and secure location where you can store important testing information and manage risk. The solution should be scalable, customizable, and integrate with other health safety tools. Our platform provides holistic screening, testing, and contact tracing tools to help employers prevent outbreaks.
Book a demo to learn more about our COVID-19 testing, screening, and contact tracing tools!