Coronavirus In Minnesota: How Does No-Touch Temperature Check Technology Work? – WCCO

Coronavirus In Minnesota: How Does No-Touch Temperature Check Technology Work? – WCCO

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We know a fever is a symptom of COVID-19.

Now that some businesses have reopened, the state is recommending temperature checks for employees.

No-touch thermometers can range from a small $50 device to a several-thousand-dollar camera system.

The use of this technology is already in play in some grocery stores, apartment buildings and workplaces — including Cambria in Le Sueur.

Any Cambria employee who registers above 99 degrees gets further screening. Cambria says it chose that temperature to be conservative. Their thermal detection cameras have a half-degree margin of error.

Bill Parrish, founder of Seek Thermal, explains how they work.

“It’s looking at infrared energy, which is thermal imaging, and so we actually see heat. Everything in the world gives off heat,” Parrish said. “You’re warmer than the room you’re in, so you’re actually a lightbulb.”

And since skin temperature is related to core body temperature, it measures it right near the tear duct. And it doesn’t send anything harmful your way.

“The rays are going the other direction. The rays are coming from you to the camera,” he said.

Whether it’s from 6 inches or 6-feet away, the technology is the same.

“The ones you hold up to your head is not really imaging. It’s one detector looking at one spot. Thermal imaging actually draws the whole picture,” Parrish said.

Some companies use these cameras like Cambria, with temperature limits between 99-100 degrees. Others use them to compare. Knowing temperatures can differ by person or if you just came in from outside or it’s morning versus afternoon.

Parrish understands any privacy concerns.

“We don’t save files, so we don’t try to identify anything, but people are walking in front of a camera and they’re having their temperature taken,” he said. “We’re going to, as a society, need to resolve these sort of things.”

Cambria says it isn’t collecting data on individuals, but instead on the averages, and they’re doing so anonymously — which could even be helpful during flu season.

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