What Temperature Should Be the Threshold for Fever Screening?
Ultimately the Decision is Yours
As we continue to cope with the health and economic impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Waco and all across Texas, organizations continue to look for ways to maintain operations and mitigate risk.
In our continuing blog series, we have discussed various aspects of fever screening systems; technology, implementation issues, misconceptions, and more. ASAP Security Services strongly believes that this technology is up-and-coming as one arrow among others in the quiver to battle COVID-19. In this blog, we will take a closer look at the guidelines for a fever – what temperature constitutes a fever? In some ways, it's more complicated than you might think.
What Are the Guidelines?
Everyone agrees that a fever is a common symptom of the COVID-19 virus. Screening for fever is one effective way of keeping people from potential infection, mainly because it can be detected externally without invasive testing. Of course, a fever is not necessarily due to COVID-19; it may be a symptom of a cold, allergy, or several other factors.
What, then, should be the temperature cutoff for a fever? A recent article in the Washington Post noted that the state health guidelines had significant variances. For example, here in Texas, the cutoff is 100 degrees. In Georgia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, the number is 100.4. And in Delaware, it is a significantly lower 99.5 degrees. Walmart and Amazon, two of the nation's largest employers, use 100 and 100.4, respectively.
What does the CDC say? For some diseases, they define fever as 100.4 degrees or above, and in other cases, like influenza, they describe it as 100 degrees or above. As you can see, the variances can be quite significant.
Do All COVID-19 Infections Develop Fever?
The current research suggests that 20% of COVID-19 infections show no symptoms, fever or otherwise. While no screen will be perfect, it doesn’t mean fever screening is not worthwhile. In Wuhan, where the pandemic originated, only 44% of the hospitalized infections had a temperature of 99.5 degrees or more. While fever is an indicator, as we said, detecting fever is one arrow in the quiver.
How Should We Consider Implementing Fever Detection?
What temperature you pick as your cutoff should be carefully considered. One overriding concern is your population. Do you have older people and others with preexisting conditions who are known to have a higher risk in your location? If so, you might want to set the bar low for fever detection. If your population is younger, healthier, and at less at risk of developing complications, perhaps a higher bar is appropriate.
As we have discussed in the past, fever screening at scale is a tool. It can be an effective way to separate potentially infected individuals from healthy ones quickly. Your organization must decide on its guidelines, and what to do if a person is above your fever threshold. Is that person sent home? If so, do you require a minimum quarantine? Should you require a person to undergo further screening if detected? Do you implement tiers, such as using an oral thermometer for greater accuracy for a temperature of 99.5, but otherwise send anyone home above 100.4 degrees? Those are issues that you decide.
ASAP Security Services offers state-of-the-art technology solutions for COVID-19 response, including temperature detection, mask detection, and occupancy control systems. To learn more, set up a consultation with our team by calling (877) 418-ASAP, filling out our contact form, or starting a live chat with us below. We look forward to working with you!