Why Campuses Still Need Temperature Monitoring
The medical consensus is that temperature scanning solutions will be used as general gateway health monitors even after there is widespread vaccination for COVID-19.
The idea of “what’s next once the pandemic reaches a herd immunization level” is extremely hopeful yet somewhat naïve. Back in June, some States were offering incentives for people to get vaccinated — Ohio was offering million-dollar lottery prizes for vaccinated Buckeyes, New Jersey was offering free beer and New York was offering free marijuana joints!
Why were they doing this? Because despite all the positive data and news feeds on the attributes of becoming vaccinated, there is still a level of hesitancy by many people to get the vaccine.
As of June 1, there have been around 160 million people getting the vaccine so far, which is less than half of the U.S. population. For many scientists tracking the pandemic, the hope of reaching herd immunity is becoming more and more unlikely, even with an abundance of vaccines.
Flu seasons, variants to COVID and more significant awareness of keeping people safe and feeling safe when entering a school, hospital, office building, restaurant, etc., are paramount right now. Increased measures to prevent the spread of disease will continue to be important in the “new normal.”
The medical consensus is that temperature scanning solutions will be used as general gateway health monitors even after COVID-19 is defeated, or at least at herd immunity levels. One of the more positive byproducts of this pandemic is that temperature monitoring has become the go-to resource for health services in any facility to contain viral outbreaks, such as COVID-19.
The thinking to support temperature monitoring post-pandemic is that people who are feeling under the weather may not risk coming into work only for a high temperature alert to be made by the temperature screening solutions.
Those who know they feel ill will end up keeping the office healthier by staying home instead of facing a scanner, which could bring potential improvements to company policies and culture, stressing an “If you’re sick, stay home” mentality.
As we transition back to offices, schools, hospitals and other areas where large crowds gather, employers need to legally protect themselves from the risk of allegations or reports of specifically work-related COVID infections. To prevent disease, organizations may institute two strategies: (a) An employee/student temperature screening mechanism or (b) an employee/student pre-work self-assessment or symptom report.
In order to avoid potential disease spread, employees must be screened pre-entry to the worksite/school/hospital. The National Safety Council recommends issuing workers with a smartphone application to complete and upload their symptom reports to facilitate the employee pre-work self-assessment — including the related administrative burdens. For temperature check locations, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recommends screenings are done in a private room or in a tent outside the facility.
It is crucial all temperature screening tests are research-proven to be accurate and reliable to protect against false COVID negatives or positives.
How frequently should you screen? Many factors will drive this organizational decision, including known workplace outbreaks within your school/industry, and the level of community transmission within your town, city or district. However, across sectors, and based on the COVID incubation period, the CDC recommends conducting screening testing at least weekly.
One proven method for temperature screening is an infrared (IR) thermometer. These devices measure temperature by sensing the thermal radiation emitted by the subject. They are also known as temperature guns, non-contact thermometers or laser thermometers. They are capable of measuring the temperature of an object from a distance.
Most public places use infrared thermometers for monitoring people’s body temperatures. One person holds the thermometer pointed towards the subject’s forehead, and then the temperature measurement result is displayed on the digital screen of the infrared thermometer. People with normal body temperatures are allowed to enter public premises, whereas people with elevated body temperatures are prohibited from entering.
IR thermometers are considered one of the most effective, safe and budget-conscious methods to accurately measure body temperature. They are widely accepted as being the most reliable, quick method to generate a temperature reading. However, some devices are not capable of a true body temperature reading, namely core body temperature.
Sometimes, the skin temperature has nothing to do with your actual core body temperature. This is where the problem arises. Have you ever wondered whether your forehead temperature truly tells anything about your health? When the surrounding conditions are ideal, an increased forehead temperature can indicate fever. But most of the time, the surrounding conditions aren’t ideal for accurate core body temperature measurements.
Skin temperature can decrease or increase due to several factors, including:
- If you have some skin conditions
- If you have just finished eating
- If you are drunk
- If you are wearing a lot of clothes
- If you have just finished exercising
- If you get sunburns
- If you are under the influence of extreme weather conditions
All these factors can influence your skin temperature, irrespective of your actual core body temperature.
Measuring Core Body Temperature for More Accurate Readings
Temperature scanners that can accurately measure core body temperature from your wrists and fists can solve all inaccuracy problems of the hand-held infrared thermometers.
A solution with this type of technology uses additional sensor readings and an artificial intelligence algorithm to increase accuracy. This combination filters out all the effects of the hot and cold weather, thereby producing extremely accurate results and extends the ambient range of infrared thermometers and scanners by up to 50% — making hand-held forehead scanners obsolete.
Inserting wrist/fist scanners at all key entrances to schools, office buildings, hospitals/assisted living facilities, and anywhere else you want to help prevent infection and viral spread, you are not only meeting but exceeding CDC guidelines for creating a safe and healthy environment.
Integrators are in a prime spot to offer temperature monitoring technologies to help set the world up for the “new normal” in a post-pandemic world.
Paul McCabe is a marketer for FeverWarn by MachineSense.
Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers and contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety magazine.