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New Berrien County Health Department database tracks potential COVID-19 cases in workplace

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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- The Berrien County Health Department announced a new, online platform Tuesday which employers can use to better track illnesses within their business.

Through a partnership with a developer in Kalamazoo, they created the free tool, which they believe will help predict and possibly prevent  a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“This will really help employers make smart decisions about operations, knowing how many employees they might have out sick at any given time,” said Gillian Conrad, Communications Manager for the Berrien County Health Department.

The department is now asking employers throughout the county to opt into the database, which will allow officials keep track of potential hot spots in the area. Employers are already required to report COVID-positive employees within 24 hours of notice and this gives them a direct line to the department.

“This will save employers another extra phone call to us if they create an online account with this free platform, they can do that reporting with COVID-positive employees that they might have,” said Conrad.

If you’re concerned about your information being shared, the health department assures no names, birth dates or other medical information will be used.

“There is no identifiable information that will put into this system or transmitted through the online platform, it is all aggregate information - purely the number of employees that might be experiencing symptoms,” said Conrad.

One business that volunteered to be part of the testing period was the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber and they encourage every employer to sign up for the program.

“It’s very easy to use, you create a login, it doesn’t ask you too many questions,” said Arthur Havlicek, President/CEO of the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber. “You go in and you’re able to make a daily report. It’s especially helpful if you have a lot of employees and multiple locations – but all the way down to a mom-and-pop shop I think it’s a good tool to have.”

Because the more businesses that are involved, the better chance the county has at preventing a COVID-19 resurgence.

“This is a rapid response tool that centralizes a lot of information and comes directly from employers. So it’s a great resource and the more that participate the better of a resource it is,” said Havlicek.

For employers looking to register, go to www.back2worksafe.com or email healthyworksites@bchdmi.org

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