New Haven suspends mask monitoring plan

Local musician Smitty has been featured in the city’s Mask Up campaign, among growing efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

New Haven City Hall has ended a planned “mask census” to track the number of people wearing COVID protective face covers – then determine how to get more of them to comply.

Less than an hour after the Independent first published an article about the new census, city spokesman Gage Frank told the Independent that the program was now “on hold.”

“We saw some concern from residents,” he said of the reason for the sudden hiatus in the program, which was still in the planning stage and had not yet been implemented. In practice.

“It was just about targeting the messages” to encourage the appropriate use of the mask, he said. It was designed as a way to measure mask use by direct observation, as opposed to phone calls and surveys.

For now, at least, the plan has been scrapped.

City Hall is planning a “mask census” to understand how many people across the city are wearing COVID protective face coverings – and then find out how to get more to comply.

The program is not yet operational, Mayor Justin Elicker and city deputy general manager Rebecca Bombero told Independent Friday.

Bombero, who is the coordinator of the fledgling effort, said recent contacts with alders and community management teams have resulted in only one volunteer signing up to help. Now she and her team are coming together to find the best way to proceed. She said the program will likely rely on city employees rather than volunteers to do the data collection work.

A parallel effort to recruit volunteers for a new senior telephone banking program has been more successful. (See more on this below.)

CAD assistant Becky Bombero. (File photo by Thomas Breen.)

If and when the mask count program rolls out, here’s the plan:

A volunteer or city staff member will be dispatched to a busy part of the city where, by order of the state, masks must be worn – such as at a bus stop, train station or near the entrance of a store.

Bombero said the mask enumerator will be stationed a safe distance from other people, likely in a vehicle or in a chair.

They will track how many people they see, how many are wearing masks and how many are wearing masks correctly, for example on the mouth and nose, rather than on the chin.

The enumerator will then enter these figures in a follow-up sheet to be aggregated and analyzed by the town hall.

Elicker and Bombero both compared the effort to the one-off pedestrian counts that organizations like the Town Green Special Services District take to track changes in the number of people walking through the city center, and to use that as a proxy for economic health and potential business. impact.

“We have anecdotes,” Elicker said of mask compliance across town. “We don’t have any data. The city can react better with the data.

Bombero agreed, noting that such a mask count effort will provide “just one more metric we can follow on how best to respond to the pandemic.”

How to use this generalized data?

Bombero and Elicker said this could inform the type of educational campaigns the city might want to put in place to encourage proper mask wearing. It can also result in targeted mask distribution events.

Bombero said the program was inspired in part by federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations on collecting observational mask-wearing data. For months, public health experts have promotes mask wear as one of the most effective tools to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The state requires residents to wear masks whenever in public and unable to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others.

“The goal is to find out if people in general are wearing masks and are wearing masks correctly,” Elicker said. “Do we have to change our messaging? Do we need to do more awareness? Are things going well? There is no intention of monitoring businesses or getting anyone into trouble. It’s just to get a sense over time of how people’s behavior has changed when it comes to wearing masks to guide our decisions ”in education and awareness.

This spring, the city launched a “Hide” campaign, with notice boards posted around the city showing prominent locals (like Smitty, above) wearing sports masks.

Elicker: No “Surveillance”. Cousin: always suspicious

Mayor Elicker: It’s not about surveillance.

Elicker and Bombero stressed that the program is not really about individual follow-up.

This will not result in citations or fines for those who do not wear masks.

While the city is amend companies up to $ 100 if employees are caught not wearing masks at work, this mask census program is not about law enforcement but rather data collection and education, they said.

A city staff member sent an email to local clergy earlier this week encouraging them to solicit volunteers for a so-called “mask watch” program. The city subsequently removed the word “surveillance” from any online reference to the program.

Elicker said that “the use of the word ‘surveillance’ by a staff member is not an accurate representation of everything we are trying to do. We try to guide our decision making ”with data. Don’t keep an eye on individuals.

Photo by Sam Gurwitt

Rev. Cousin. (Photo by Sam Gurwitt.)

Reverend Bethel AME, Steven Cousin, told The Independent that seeing the word “surveillance” in reference to this mask compliance program in an email from the city initially raised many concerns. Which neighbors will the city be watching? Who will be targeted? If the numbers don’t match what the city wants, will there be appeals, citations, fines?

“We understand about Covid and how the numbers are increasing,” he said. “But especially in the African American community, we’re always going to look at it from a different perspective, on how that could be another way of monitoring ourselves and trying to get unwanted attention.”

In a follow-up call after this reporter spoke to Elicker and Bombero about how this program actually works – its widespread data collection, not individual tracking – Cousin said the mask count effort was ringing in the air. theory. But in practice, he said, observation, data collection and subsequent analysis will only delay outreach and education work that can be done more immediately by the town hall.

“If it’s about the safety of masks and people wearing masks properly,” he said, “why not go to those areas and hand out face masks while they’re there? This is how you educate people, through this personal one-on-one intervention.

Cousin cited Dixwell entrepreneur Rodney Williams mask gifts all over town as a model for what he would like to see from the city. “Go out into vulnerable neighborhoods and distribute free masks,” he said. “I would love to see the city do something like this”, where they know people gather – that is, at bus stops or train stations or near popular stores – and distribute on those sites and talk to people who don’t have masks.

“Given the history of this country, it’s always going to be greeted with a sort of skepticism, especially in the African American community, ”he said of mass data collection. “It may sound harmless.” But that doesn’t mean everyone will greet him that way.

Telephone calls to seniors

Residents of the Bella Vista Seniors Complex line up to vote. (Photo by Courtney Luciana.)

While only one person has signed up to volunteer for the still-ongoing mask counting program, Bombero said, the city has already recruited 13 volunteers to help with its new telephone banking program for seniors. This pandemic-era awareness effort has volunteers. make regular phone calls to seniors across town to educate them about the current high risks of transmitting the novel coronavirus, the importance of staying safe and home when possible, and connecting them with resources like nurses, The “hot line” of the Clifford Beers clinic, and free meal distribution programs.

Bombero said the town had the phone numbers of about 7,500 older people in the area and that the volunteers had made about 1,000 phone calls in the past two weeks.

Elicker said the city had a similar program in place during the first wave of the pandemic this spring. “The goal is to check people’s mental health,” he said. “To see if they have basic needs in food and things like that. To make sure people know we’re in the red and to let people know about testing sites. “

Volunteers take notes on every call they make, Bombero said, and then she and her team go through those notes to see what kind of follow-up they need to provide based on those conversations.

This story was first published on November 20, 2020 by the Independent from New Haven.

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EMA deploys COVID vaccine surveillance plan

Posted on November 13, 2020 | Through Kari oakes

As it continues its ongoing review of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) presented its COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring plan. In addition to the agency’s usual vaccine surveillance requirements, the surveillance plan imposes new monthly reporting obligations on companies marketing vaccines.

A new guide is also available to help companies in the details of developing vaccine risk management plans (RMP) specific to COVID-19.

In collaboration with the national competent authorities (NCAs), the EMA is requiring Pharmaceutical companies that market licensed COVID-19 vaccines to step up data collection and reporting activities, to include active data collection for serious adverse events that may occur infrequently. Companies should also use spontaneous reporting systems and observational studies, among other data sources, to research and assess emerging safety data.

With this information in hand, says the EMA, companies should look to “[p]comprehensive assessment of the impact of safety issues detected on the benefit-risk ratio of vaccines, taking into account exposure and efficacy data.

Vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and the elderly should benefit from enhanced active surveillance, and the plan should include a way to engage with stakeholders, including those who have been vaccinated and those working in health, as well. as marketing authorization holders (MAHs) and their international partners.

All relevant information should be reported and pharmaceutical companies should have a plan for “prompt and effective communication of new information” arising from surveillance activities. In addition to the biannual periodic safety update reports (PSUR) required by good pharmacovigilance practices (GVP), MA holders must submit monthly summary reports. These reports should include “information on suspected adverse reactions reported, including adverse events of special interest (AESI) and sales data,” as well as other data, the EMA said.

Aggregated exposure data for each vaccine should be available for detection of safety signals and ongoing analysis of vaccines for particular populations, among others. The EMA also requires that MAHs have a traceability tool so that the vaccine and the lot are known for each individual vaccinated.

The accompanying core RMP19 advice was added as a result of EMA guidelines on the development and deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine. During a series of modules in the guide, MAHs are given guidance to flesh out the details of the RMP, including considerations for safety specifications, identification of identified significant risks, special populations for enhanced surveillance and a reactogenicity monitoring plan.

Where vaccine formulation and administration may affect the risk of adverse events, these details should also be addressed in the RMP.

Other topics not required but offered for consideration include the risk of vaccination errors that could occur in a mass vaccination scenario, what happens when individuals receive a mixed schedule of two different vaccines, and the need booster or revaccination.

The pharmacovigilance plan should include details of signal detection, including plans to “leverage the infrastructure and outcome of global efforts” to enumerate adverse events. The guide also provides details on the recommendations of the follow-up questionnaire.

Whether additional pharmacovigilance is required in addition to routine postmarketing safety activities will depend on a variety of factors, depending on the recommendations: missing information or whether, in addition to ongoing or planned clinical trials, a study Post-Authorization Safety Observational (PASS) is required.

EMA guidelines
EMA pharmacovigilance plan

© 2021 Society of Regulatory Affairs Professionals.

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41% of households with professional security surveillance plan to upgrade their system within the next year

DALLAS, November 9, 2020 / PRNewswire / – Parks Associates Safety Research finds that COVID-19 is a key factor driving households with security surveillance to upgrade their system: 41% of monitored households have a professional surveillance plan to upgrade their system within six months and a half-hearted plan to install an add-on device themselves, with the majority citing the pandemic as a related factor. The most popular add-on devices among these surveillance homes are video cameras, smart lighting, and video doorbells.

Global research firm Parks Associates will present new consumer studies and insights from leaders in the connected home and IoT industry at the CONNECTIONS ™ conference, November 10-12. The virtual conference, sponsored by, a leading smart home platform, is the premier conference covering smart home, showcasing consumer research and leadership insights as well as market changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID 19 has focused on the home environment for consumers and increased interest in the use cases made possible by smart home solutions, and US broadband households with professional security surveillance are a leading segment in the adoption of smart security devices, especially security cameras, security lighting and video doorbells, “said Elizabeth Parks, President, Parks Associates. “This influx of connected products and services will require a solution that can intelligently connect and control all of these points of the home. We look forward to hearing from and other market leaders about advancements in AI and applications that can improve the user experience. . “

“With the continuous improvement in smart home technology and connected devices, it’s no surprise that many people are looking to upgrade their existing systems,” said Anne Ferguson, Vice President of Marketing at “Computer analysis and vision, in particular, expand the applications and capabilities of today’s systems. Affordable solutions, professionally monitored and managed through a unified platform provide integrators with increased customer loyalty, recurring upsell opportunities and long-term RMR growth. “ will share the company’s expertise in designing, deploying and improving solutions to integrate a variety of IoT devices, during multiple sessions at CONNECTIONS ™.

  • Anne Ferguson, Vice President of Marketing,, will make the visionary presentation Consumer-centric AI: humanizing the future to November 10, 1:00 p.m. HC, in the session Create value through high user experiences.
  • Abe kinney, Product Management Director,, will speak on the panel Smart Home Platforms: Playing Well Together to November 11th, 11:00 a.m., during the session Smart Home platforms: in search of a unified experience. The panel also includes executives from Johnson Controls, MMB Networks, Olibra and Yonomi and will discuss platform design trends, partnerships and likely pathways to more unified smart home experiences for consumers.

CONNECTIONS ™ Community Sponsors include Sutherland Global Services,, Bitdefender, Nice, Cox, Intellithings, Cirrent, Everise, MMB Networks, ServiceLive, Zen Ecosystems, Firedome, Inspire, Mercku, Olibra, Ossiaco, Plume, Tuya, Zigbee Alliance, Z-Wave, Aprilaire, Asurion, Gadgeon and Wi-Charge.

CONNECTIONS ™ brings together industry leaders to network and discuss the growing smart home market. To request data or an interview, contact Rosey Ulpino, [email protected], 972-490-1113.


Parks Associates 24th Annual CONNECTIONS ™: Premier Connected Home Conference is a virtual conference that takes place November 10-12, preceded by six thematic virtual sessions hosted in July-October. CONNECTIONS ™ offers networking opportunities combined with visionary speeches and conference sessions focused on technological innovations, consumer research, and product and service business strategies.

Rosey Ulpino
Parks Associates
[email protected]

SOURCE Parks Associates

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State government reveals new surveillance plan

The state government has revealed its latest attempt to reduce the number of suicides.

A new program will help track suicides in real time, allowing schools, health workers and services to follow any worrying trends.

Nearly 700 people committed suicide in New South Wales between January 1 and the end of September this year, including more than 20 on Sydney’s northern beaches alone.

The new surveillance system would provide real-time data regarding the location, age and gender of a victim.

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This information will be posted on the NSW Health website, meaning anyone, including schools, health services and frontline workers, will be able to access it.

The data will be available about a month after a person’s death, compared to an average of 12 months previously.

“This means that from now on we will be able to make critical decisions about local health services and responses in communities where we can effectively see risks emerge in real time instead of reacting to threats. year-old data, ”Mental Health Minister Bronnie Taylor said.

“It’s something people have been calling for a while.”

The announcement comes months after a cluster of youth suicides broke out on Sydney’s northern beaches, where several students have committed suicide this year.

While Ms Taylor denied that the program was developed in response to a cluster, she said the idea behind the program was to target any clusters that might grow in the future.

“Every death by suicide is a tragedy, not only for the person, but also for their family, loved ones and their entire community,” she said.

Claudia Neale was one of many Sydney North Beach students who committed suicide this year.  Photo: Sam Ruttyn
Claudia Neale was one of many Sydney North Beach students who committed suicide this year. Photo: Sam Ruttyn

Suicide rates have remained relatively stable in 2020 despite the current coronavirus crisis that has devastated families and businesses.

About 673 people have committed suicide in New South Wales (between January 1 and September 30), up from 672 for the same period last year.

The majority of them are men with 505 tragically dead, compared to 168 women.

Ms Taylor said that while the rates were stable, they had to come down.

“Are we going to do everything in our power every day to make sure people have the health they deserve?” Absolutely. ”She said.

Mental Health Minister Bronnie Taylor has said suicide rates must come down.  Photo: NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone
Mental Health Minister Bronnie Taylor has said suicide rates must come down. Photo: NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone

When asked why the government has taken so long to implement this system, Taylor said the process required the collaboration of various departments to create an accurate and timely system.

Attorney General Mark Speakman said the system would provide “meaningful information” to those on the front lines.

“We hope to do more sophisticated data collection in the months and years to come so that we can identify where the problems lie and dedicate the appropriate resources to those areas and target our responses so that we can reduce suicides in Nova Scotia. South Wales, ”he told reporters on Monday.

Attorney General Mark Speakman said the system would provide
Attorney General Mark Speakman said the system would provide “meaningful information” to those on the front lines. Photo: NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone

Labor leader Jodi McKay called for a royal commission on mental health and suicide on Sunday after nearly 1,000 people committed suicide in New South Wales last year.

“Too many young people are dying by suicide,” Ms. McKay said.

“At the height of the drought, men were committing suicide. Mental health is a huge problem and families are going through hell all over New South Wales because they are not getting the support they need.

“We urgently need to ensure that mental health services are accessible to young people in schools and to everyone in the regions and rural areas of New South Wales. I am calling for a royal commission to shed light on what has gone so wrong in the delivery of mental health services.

The next step for the program, which is part of the Berejiklian government’s Towards Zero campaign, will be to expand the dataset to include information on social, economic and other pressures a person may have experienced, as well as anything else. previous contact with health. services.

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