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Gone without a trace: the holes in strata community contact tracing

Qutation mark

The coronavirus pandemic has been in our lives for over a year now – so suffice to say we know the drill when a case pops up.

1. Governments announce the new case

2. Health authorities and businesses undertake contact tracing

3. The public is notified of the list of venues the case visited

4. We realise our favourite café or hairdresser might be a place to avoid for a couple of days.

All this contact tracing is made possible by cafes, hairdressing salons, and a whole range of private businesses running comprehensive QR code entry systems – but what happens if one of these venues is a strata community?

Strata communities see as many visitors in a day as many of the businesses adhering to COVID-safe practices and QR code entry, but very few have adopted these processes.

SOME, not all communities have sign in books for visiting contractors but that doesn’t even begin to address the various Uber Eats delivery personnel and guests of residents that come in and out of a strata block every day, who may pose some level of health risk and transmission.

So, with all this in mind – let’s look at how communities may be able to tighten this up and whether it’s possible to guarantee better results – without unreasonably disrupting life in the community.

How do we patch up these holes in strata contact tracing?

QR codes & beefed up manual sign in processes

  • In NSW the state government is providing a way for large venues and multi-storey buildings to register for a QR code which lets visitors log on in a secure manner using a smart phone or tablet, and records their details in case there’s a need to trace a Covid-19 infection
  • - Under this scheme, businesses can apply to get different QR codes for separate buildings on their site or separate entry points to help identify exactly which parts may have been exposed to the virus

    - For patrons who don’t have access to a smart phone, the business/organisation is encouraged to still maintain some form of digital records.

    - This may be more high-tech than some need but for multi-storey and multi-building communities there’s absolute merit to an electronic record of visitors

  • In Victoria, the government has also provided a free QR Code system for ease of use, and recognises situations arise where manual sign in may be necessary. Record keeping clarifies the requirement to document the name, phone number, date and time of a contractor who performs work on-site, as well as anyone who uses any common property facilities.
  • - This includes areas where people congregate for 15 minutes or more, where there is close proximity of people, or where physical transmission can occur from touching or using the same equipment posing the highest risk of transmission and should be tracked

    - We’re talking meeting rooms, pools, saunas, barbecues, gyms, rooftop gardens, recreation rooms and outdoor/indoor playgrounds

    What’s the best solution for your community? How urgent is it that we get onto this?

    It is impossible to provide a one size fits all ruling on this.

    Communities set to undertake works in the coming months will want to act on patching some of these holes up before there is a steady stream of contractors coming in and out.

    Likewise, communities with several frequented common areas like gyms, pools and barbecues which inevitably attract large numbers of residents and their guests should make efforts to ensure there is a better record of tracking visitors.

    Ultimately, your best bet is to speak with your strata manager and work through all the complexities of this issue.

    Seeking further advice?

    If you wish to discuss any strata community matters further with an Ace Body Corporate Manager, please do not hesitate to visit our contact page and locate your nearest Ace Manager for a chat.

    Ace Body Corporate Management
    Disclaimer: This is not advice and should only be referred to for general information purposes. Strata management contracts often vary, so we recommend you contact your local Ace manager for more information, or seek expert legal advice. This article is not intended to be personal advice, and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.Ace Body Corporate Management offers this newsletter to clients to assist in updating them on company and industry news. The content within this newsletter is of a generic nature and may not be applicable to all owners corporations. Ace Body Corporate Management attempts to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information for our clients. However, we strongly recommend that individuals and committees seek further advice before acting on any information in this newsletter.