The IRF Education Invitational is one of the first large scale industry events of 2021, and has made its health and safety protocols available as an example of best practice for large gatherings.
The event is set to take place Jun. 2-5, 2021, at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort in Florida. The IRF has published its extensive health protocols encompassing pre-event preparations, onsite experience, and post-event symptom follow-up. The health and safety protocols will be applicable to all event attendees regardless of vaccination status. Current CDC guidelines note that we are still learning how well the vaccines keep people from spreading COVID-19, and vaccinated individuals should continue to follow prevention measures that reduce spread when participating in large gatherings and events.
Many of the IRF’s protocols have been elevated beyond those recommended by the CDC, State of Florida, and Marriott International, in order to ensure attendee safety and a successful return to large-scale in-person gatherings.
Before the Event
Prior to the event, all unvaccinated attendees will be required to take a diagnostic COVID-19 test no more than three days before the start of the IRF Invitational on Jun. 2, 2021. The IRF strongly recommends a PCR or Rapid Molecular Test, such as the Abbott ID Now, but the results of any diagnostic test will be accepted. All attendees and guests must provide written documentation of their test result to the IRF via the Vital Circle platform. Attendees will be responsible for arranging and paying for their own test, and entry will be denied to any unvaccinated attendees who choose not to take a test or if their test is positive.
Attendees who have been fully vaccinated with a FDA-authorized vaccine will have the requirement to present a COVID-19 test waived. Proof of vaccination must be supplied via the Vital Circle platform beginning two weeks prior to the event.
The IRF has partnered with Vital Circle, which provides an app that allows participants to track, monitor and report symptoms on a daily basis. It provides data and analytics that quickly identify and isolate COVID-19 risk early. The first symptom tracking survey will be distributed to attendees via a web-based application two weeks prior to the event. The system is also a HIPAA compliant way to share sensitive information with the IRF event organizers, such as proof of a negative test or proof of vaccination.
All attendees will be provided with safe roundtrip transfer options between Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) and JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort – including a maximum occupancy of 50 percent of vehicle capacity on all vehicles. All event health and safety protocols will apply to the transfer vehicle, including wearing a mask and temperature checks before boarding. Advanced reservation is required for the transfer, and walk-up transfer requests will not be accommodated.
During the Event
All attendees will be required to wear face masks covering both nose and mouth, and keep appropriate social distance throughout the event. While 6 feet away from others, attendees may remove masks briefly while actively eating and drinking. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits, including hand-sanitizer and 3-4 face masks, will be given to attendees upon arrival, with additional face masks available upon request.
Attendees will be asked to complete a daily symptom survey each morning using the Vital Circle app. Those meeting the survey’s criteria will be given a green check mark confirmation screen, which must be shown to IRF staff to receive a wristband for entering the event. If attendees are experiencing symptoms or are unable to pass the survey criteria, they will immediately be contacted by the IRF for further evaluation.
Thermal “Temp Stations” will be installed at the event, capable of capturing a contactless temperature measurement from up to 6 feet away. Attendees will be required to visit a Temp Station each morning before entering the event. If an attendee has a fever of 100.4 °F or greater, they will not be permitted to enter, and will be sent to the IRF Healthcare Clinic sponsored by InHouse Physicians for further evaluation.
Attendees will be given a small proximity contact tracing device attached to their IRF lanyard name badge. The device, created by Vital Circle, measures your distance from other attendees and the total amount of time spent within that distance. It does not connect in any way to your mobile phone, does not monitor your GPS location, and does not record biometric data.
The IRF Healthcare Clinic sponsored by InHouse Physicians will be open throughout the event, with a dedicated on-call clinician equipped to handle most medical situations onsite.
After the Event
The Vital Circle app will allow attendees to safely track, monitor, and report symptoms with post-event surveys at the 5, 10, and 21-day mark. If symptoms are experienced within 21 days following the event, participants are asked to report it using the app. IRF and Vital Circle will maintain attendee privacy in accordance with applicable data protection and data privacy requirements, but will review the contact tracing data from the event and alert other attendees that were within 6 feet of you for a total of 15 minutes or more.