Due to uneven distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as mutations, the virus looks like it will continue to be around as a seasonal disease for the foreseeable future. Work has been done in other industries (like medical and hospitality) to minimize the spread, but what about the construction field? The construction industry has been vulnerable to COVID-19 infections due in large part to proximity of employees and a high prevalence of smokers. 

To improve intervention efforts, researchers studied how COVID-19 is being spread in the construction industry. In the Journal of Management in Engineering paper “Uncovering Construction Site-Specific Transmission Patterns of COVID-19: A Spatiotemporal Connectivity Analysis in Hong Kong,” authors Ziyue Yuan, Shi Zhao, Shu-Chien Hsu, and Clara Man Cheung analyzed five COVID-19 cluster cases associated with construction sites in Hong Kong. They use spatiotemporal analysis to track the transmission pattern of the virus from the workplace to residential neighborhoods. Learn more about their research and suggested best practices at https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)ME.1943-5479.0001100. The abstract is below.                


To adapt to the prolonged pandemic, the construction industry, which has a high vulnerability to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection, has sought more sector-specific and individual-level nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). Understanding infection transmission patterns can determine what, when, and how NPIs should be implemented. This study examined infection transmission proceeding from construction sites using spatiotemporal analysis with COVID-19 case cluster data from construction sites in Hong Kong. The study revealed that COVID-19 transmission diffuses from the workplace to residential neighborhoods where infected construction workers live but not to the surroundings of infected construction sites. The average number of offspring cases infected by each seed case in the first to fifth transmission generations were 7.8, 26.1, 10.6, 3.6, and 1.3, respectively. Around 18% of cases were responsible for 79.6% of all COVID-19 transmission, driven mainly by workplace and household settings. The study found that closing a workplace within two working days after a primary case is identified can help reduce the attack rate by 5.33%. Encouraging household members of infected construction workers to follow quarantines can reduce offspring cases by 15.84% on average. A priori identification of superspreaders can help remove half of COVID-19 cases.

Read the paper and its findings in full in the ASCE Library: https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)ME.1943-5479.0001100.