COVID-19 aka Coronavirus has changed life as we know it. The resounding sentiment is that we’ve never seen, nor did we ever think we would see, anything like this. Countries are closing their borders. Schools have closed their doors. Coronavirus has become more than a threat. Sadly, it is our current reality.
Our economy has suffered a blow, and it will likely be a long time before we recover. Some businesses are making hard choices, as every industry is impacted. Although vast numbers of non-essential businesses have temporarily shut down, there are companies and government agencies who are charged with the daunting responsibility of providing the products and services necessary to keep the country going. These companies are experiencing increased demand for their product or service, while contending with the threat of their staff contracting the virus. The question they must answer daily is how to serve their customers, while protecting their employees.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has provided updated guidance for employers which specifically addresses the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance provides that employers may screen employees, as well as job applicants, for virus infection. Implementing a comprehensive crisis management plan is a must. Given that a primary symptom of the virus is fever (temperature above 100.4°F) a crucial element of the plan should be taking employee and applicant temperatures. There is a lot of discussion about “flattening the curve”, which means spreading out the incidence of new Coronavirus cases to reduce the overwhelm that the health care system is currently experiencing. Taking employee temperatures, and responding accordingly, is one way to accomplish that.
According to the EEOC, because we are amid “community spread of COVID-19”, employers may measure employees’ body temperature. (Employers may also ask an employee who calls in sick if they are experiencing symptoms of the pandemic virus.) When considering how the COVID-19 virus is typically transmitted - droplets produced by coughing and sneezing - large workforces are particularly concerning. Employers should be especially vigilant to establish a process for screening employees. A suggestion by The National Law Review is, “for large plant-like environments, employers may consider a ‘drive-through’ approach similar to public testing centers being set up at retail locations.”
Whatever the process, crisis plans are immediately warranted. Some industries, such as healthcare, have already begun mandatory employee temperature screening. Others are following suit now, as a response to the rapidly increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases. Ohio Governor, Mike DeWine, is requesting that all Ohio businesses take employee temperatures every day, before they start work. Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young, LLP, notes on their website that, the CDC has established “community mitigation plans, which contain recommendations that vary by locality.” The CDC is recommending that businesses in Santa Clara, CA, as well as other counties, consider daily screening of all employees. Temperature and respiratory symptom screening are included in the recommendation. A county in Michigan is requiring that all employees of essential businesses be screened, including taking temperatures with a touchless thermometer, when available.
Touchless or non-contact thermometers are extremely effective tools for helping to control the spread of COVID-19. Furthermore, a thermometer that is FDA approved for taking human temperatures can be trusted to safely capture the data needed to make critical decisions. Certified as a medical device, this type of thermometer is guaranteed to be a reliable product that will not cause injury.
The ability to easily scan sizable work groups within a relatively short amount of time, makes non-contact forehead thermometers especially useful. A thermometer that will perform large numbers of temperature readings, due to its large capacity, is a must-have. Features like a backlit LCD and an alarm (to alert users when a temperature reading is outside of the normal range) are particularly helpful. Access to high-quality tools is important for any business, especially at a time like this. DeltaTrak’s Non-Contact Infrared Forehead Thermometer, Model 15007, is the right choice.