TraceSCAN COVID-19 wearable contact tracing solution adopted by Manitoba First Nation

Following a successful pilot project, the Waywayseecappo First Nation (WFN) has adopted the TraceSCAN, a COVID-19 wearable contact tracing solution developed by Facedrive Inc.

Since 2,750 active cases have been reported as of Thursday in First Nation communities, the First Nation is taking a proactive approach to adopt the cutting-edge wearable to combat the COVID-19 virus in their community.

By accepting the device, the WFN serves as a blueprint for other First Nations as well.

“We are delighted to have successfully completed the pilot project with the WFN community, and are now moving forward with a full-scale adoption of the TraceSCAN technology among all of its members,” said Sayan Navaratnam, Chairman and CEO of Facedrive in a press release.

“The WFN is the first Indigenous Nation to implement our wearable solution to protect its citizens and help stop the spread of COVID-19, and we realize the honour and the responsibility that comes with it.”

Arrangements have been made so all WFN members including frontline workers, school children and senior citizens can be equipped with their wearable device, as well as installation of the supporting infrastructure throughout the community.

A team has already been dispatched to the First Nation to deploy the technology, transfer knowledge and raise awareness about contact tracing efforts and their effectiveness in stopping the spread of the virus.

Various technical support workers have been trained to ensure ongoing assistance to all TraceSCAN users.

So far, the adoption of TraceSCAN has been well-received by the community members and has even gotten sizable interest from neighbouring businesses, reserves and towns which are presently considering spreading the rollout into their territories.

Waywayseecappo First Nation is located in Western Manitoba and is 32 kilometres east of Russell, Man.

“We have received positive feedback and exceptional results following our pilot project with TraceSCAN. Our community feels confident and optimistic about successfully navigating this pandemic with the help of this pioneering yet easy-to-use contact tracing technology,” said Murray Clearsky, Chief of the WFN.

“Upon careful consideration, we have made the decision to move forward with this solution and provide all our people with TraceSCAN devices. The Waywayseecappo members are supportive of the idea and looking forward to receiving training and equipment.”

As many First Nations communities continue to have data connectivity issues rendering app-based solutions considerably less effective, the TraceSCAN wearables use safe and secure Bluetooth technology that enables it to work as a standalone device.

It can promptly alert its users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 to ensure that crucial steps can be taken to decrease the further spread of the virus.

“We see this adoption as a big milestone leading to potential rollouts among other First Nations, with massive opportunities to equip over 1.6 million Indigenous community citizens with this contact tracing technology in Canada alone,” said Navaratnam.

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The engagement with the WFN is part of Facedrive’s commitment as an Environmental, Social and Governance ecosystem to continue offering essential and time-critical health solutions to all members of society, including First Nations.

Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

TORONTO STAR