WINDSOR, ONT. -- Very bleak jobless numbers were released last week showing the magnitude of the impact COVID-19 has had on the workforce around the globe.

But as workplaces start to ramp back up - the most important consideration will be safety.

A handful of Windsor-based companies are deploying technology that is ready to help with that task.

One of them is Windsor-based Audacia Bioscience.

“The world changed very quickly, and we have attempted to change with it,” says Audacia Bioscience’s director of operations, Jon Brooks. “We took the tools we built for the cannabis space and we’ve spun them off into a series of COVID tools and clinical research tools.”

Their new tech - developed hand-in-hand with medical doctors and nurses - is an app-based employee health assessment tool.

“Employees download an app and run through basic questions to create a risk assessment and symptom assessment and we can share those results with employers,” he says. “Over time, you can see whether those symptoms have slowly increased and if they need to be considered not to come to work that day.”

A second app in development is a contact tracing app. It will provide real-time data to employers on whether workers are practicing physical distancing and alert them when “contact hot spots” are developing in the workplace to inform future health and safety decision-making.

“It’s that old saying, you know what you know and you don’t know what you don’t know. So if we can start solving of what you don’t know, it’s a lot easier to start functioning on a day-to-day basis,” says Brooks.

While the contact tracing application is about a month away from deployment, Audacia is also working on a virtual clinical assessment tool and has an application before Health Canada for an antibody rapid-diagnostic test.

Another company, Durobyte Inc. has developed a new data reporting technology called, “The Clean Cell.”

“Durobyte identified the issue really quickly about the need to bring people back to work as quickly as possible, but also as safely as possible,” says Curtis Laurie, the company’s business development manager.

Laurie says the technology is a two-part solution. The first part is a user-notification system which alerts workers with a flashing light when their work stations need to be cleaned.

“It’s going to be critical that between shift changes or between operator changes that these work stations get cleaned comprehensively and thoroughly,” Laurie says.

The second part is a control system that provides a detailed report to ensure new safety protocols are being followed.

Laurie says the technology is applicable to any workplace, including coffee shops, retail outlets and of course, the manufacturing sector.

“The most important part is not only the user interface, a button which flashes, essentially, but the full reporting structure,” he says. “We want to make sure a station was not missed when it was supposed to be cleaned. We want to make sure it was cleaned througholy and comprehensively and the way to do that is to validate it with data.”

Durobyte’s technology is currently being tested at a manufacturing facility and is ready to be deployed.