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How to optimize your fever-screening devices


November 25, 2020
By Patrice De Luca
eucyln / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Patrice De Luca, GardaWorld

According to the World Health Organization, fever is one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19. This makes rapid identification of fever through screening efforts and fever-screening devices an effective part of your business operations. There exists a wide range of no-contact, temperature check solutions available to screen anyone entering your facilities, while allowing you to respect social distancing guidelines.

How to choose the fever detection tool best suited for your business?

Three questions to orient your decision:
1. What is the volume of people to be measured?
2. Will the temperature-check process be via staff or self-diagnosis?
3. What data precision do you need?

There are specific solutions designed for high-traffic zones where groups of people can pass through at once while walking non-stop, while others are more suitable for areas that handle a single line of people coming to a stop to have their temperature measured.

Concerning data precision, cameras with blackbody calibration will usually provide a better temperature accuracy (typically within +/-0.3C). The product price will vary according to the temperature-check volume capacity of the device and can range from $2,000 to $20,000 per system. Optional features include integration with access control systems or the ability to identify whether someone is wearing a mask or not.

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Define the temperature screening process

Three questions to orient your decision:
1. Where will the screening zone be located?
2. Will you need to hire staff or train existing employees – what are the training requirements?
3. How will you manage the personal information gathered on people screened in your establishment?

When it comes to the placement of the screening zone at your location, avoid areas that would capture peoples’ temperatures immediately after they have come in from the outside. Exposure to sun or intense cold can generate false results if someone’s temperature hasn’t had time to return to normal. Also avoid areas with a lot of air movement or which are close to heating or cooling outlets.

You will likely need to train your staff or hire staff to ensure that everyone goes through the screening process as well as to perform periodic calibration for equipment that requires it.

As legislations around privacy concerns are still being formed, as a general guideline you should limit the type of information stored and put a process in place to have data erased daily either automatically or manually. Signage should be put up to advise the public of your temperature measurement procedures including what will happen if an abnormal temperature measurement is captured. This helps reassure staff and visitors that temperature screening is being conducted in a safe and respectful way.

Once you’re ready to begin the temperature check process, follow a three-step measurement process to validate your readings

STEP 1: If the first measurement is above the threshold, provide a five to 10 minutes normalization period.
STEP 2: Take a second reading using the same device. If the second reading is still above the threshold, proceed to take a third reading.
STEP 3: Take a third reading using a hand-held, high precision infrared thermometer at close range.

Thermal fever camera detection has proven to be a valuable tool in identifying potentially infected individuals, as was the case in previous pandemics (MERS and SARS), when combined with other screening processes.

Considering that thermal camera detection will identify individuals with a potential fever, and that COVID-infected subjects can be contagious while being asymptomatic, this technology alone will not suffice as the only line of defense. Instead, it must be considered as part of an ecosystem of screening processes to increase the likelihood of identifying infected individuals.

Patrice De Luca is vice-president, business development and customer experience, for GardaWorld Security Systems.


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