Published On: Thu, Jun 11th, 2020

Will temperature screening of employees make offices safe?

New Delhi: As part of their “COVID-secure” return to work plans, government of India and state governments are implementing temperature screening for their employees before entering the office.

Not all fevers are caused by COVID-19 and not all COVID-19 patients have a fever.

One of the primary symptoms of COVID-19 is a temperature of above 38°C (100.4°F).

A temperature screening can be considered a reasonable means for mitigating the risk of an outbreak within the offices; however, there are issues that can arise from implementing the temperature testing.

The temperature screening can help reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections but shouldn’t be the only safety measure government take.

The screening for fevers alone won’t eliminate risk. People with the virus can be contagious without a fever, so it’s still important for all governments to increase space between workers, disinfect surfaces and encourage hand washing in offices.

A person’s temperature can be taken with a no-touch infrared thermometer pointed at the forehead, and employees can use the devices to take their own temperatures, using hand sanitizer before and after.

However, the accuracy of infrared thermometers can be thrown off by headbands or bandannas that make a person too hot, or by cosmetic wipes that cool the skin, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA says the thermometers should be used in a draft-free area and out of direct sunlight.

However, not all fevers are caused by COVID-19 and not all COVID-19 patients have a fever.

Nevertheless, the governments decision to implement temperature screenings may be an important and reasonable method for potentially identifying infected employees and mitigating the risk of an outbreak within the office.

TST

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