SEC basketball to use COVID-19 tracking technology

This will enhance COVID-19 contact tracing efforts during the men’s and women’s basketball seasons.
Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey announces Wednesday, March 11, 2020, that fans...
Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey announces Wednesday, March 11, 2020, that fans will not be allowed in the arena to watch NCAA college basketball games in the SEC tournament in Nashville, Tenn., starting Thursday. The Southeastern Conference joined the rest of the Power Five leagues and announced that only family and essential personnel would attend its men's and women's tournament basketball games. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)(Mark Humphrey | AP)
Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 5:09 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - During the 2020-21 college basketball season, the SEC will use KINEXON SafeZone technology, the same proximity devices used in SEC football games, to enhance COVID-19 contact tracing efforts.

The technology includes devices called SafeTags, which will be used throughout the conference during practices and games. The devices will also be used by officials.

Approximately the size of a watch face, the device can be built into equipment or uniforms for use on-field in practices and games.

“We have been pleased with the results produced by the use of the KINEXON SafeZone technology in football to support a healthy environment for student-athletes,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “KINEXON continues to provide the SEC with a modern and effective solution to meet the unique contact tracing challenges associated with athletic competition in close contact sports.”

The SEC released the following statement on this technology:

SafeZone uses ultra-wideband technology to accurately calculate the proximity between individuals by distance and length of time in order to perform quick and accurate contact tracing when someone is symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19. The contact data is logged in a secure system and can be accessed to contact trace in the event of an infection.

“KINEXON SafeZone has played an essential role in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 within SEC football programs,” said KINEXON Executive Vice President Jim Garofalo. “Our trusted digital approach to contact tracing will be a contributing factor which allows the conference’s men’s and women’s basketball season to be played safely. With our solution, school medical officials are empowered to use real data to identify exposure to the virus.”

The SafeTags can also be used to enforce physical distancing regulations by flashing a red warning light when people are within six feet of each other.

Contact tracing has long been recognized by public health experts as one of the most effective strategies to limit the spread of infectious disease. Contact tracing is one element of a comprehensive SEC COVID-19 management plan, among a set of protocols that employ testing, physical distancing and facility sanitization.

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