Thermal Screening. What it is and what it isn’t.
5 minute read | Author: Glenn Thow, CEO, LCS Group
Human temperature screening has been adopted in the UK like never before. Many business, GP practices, local authorities and schools now rely on some form of temperature detection as part of their COVID-19 screening process. Though we offer our own thermal screening solution, Vital, we’re here to tell you exactly what thermal screening is and most importantly what it isn’t.
There are only two reliable sources of information for acquiring the latest advice surrounding the coronavirus. The only guidelines we should be following are that of the World Health Organisation and our own Government. So let’s start with a recent announcement from the UK Government:
“Don’t rely on temperature screening products for detection of coronavirus (COVID-19)”, says MHRA
A very important message, and for a company like our’s which offers a human thermal screening solution that’s pretty bad news, right? Let’s start off by saying that we are not trying to sell an abundance of temperature detection units. We are here to use our expertise and technical capabilities to ensure that for those places where human thermal screening is applicable, we offer a reliable and robust solution versus some of the inferior solutions already on the market.
Whilst a raised temperature is a very common symptom of COVID-19, not all infected people actually show an elevated temperature. That’s why this solution should not be relied upon as a definitive diagnosis of coronavirus. But isn’t it obvious that no test other than that issued and performed by the NHS can be a definitive diagnosis? So why use temperature screening at all?
Additional Layer of Comfort & Protection
Put yourself in the scenario. You approach your destination, be it a doctors surgery, cinema, restaurant, supermarket or any other closed-space setting. They are letting people in one-by-one, doing their best to offer and enforce official guidance on social distancing but you know that once you’re past the gatekeeper, someone inside is going to feel the rules don’t apply to them. Now picture the same scenario, but before gaining entry, all members of that socially distanced queue are screened for their temperature. The person a few spaces in front of you shows signs of fever when screened and is asked to leave the premises and advised they should probably go seek medical advice. Which scenario do you prefer? The one where anyone is let in or the one where some who have obvious signs of a fever temperature are identified and refused entry?
Whilst the devices do scan temperature accurately to within 0.5 degrees it is important to note that these devices should not be a replacement for any COVID-19 practical steps and all other recommended guidelines should also be followed. It is the case that people infected with COVID-19 or indeed any other virus or ailment may not display an elevated temperature at all. All that said a lot of clients are getting value from the devices as an additional layer of protection and to demonstrate their level of care and concern for their staff and visitors and they are far more effective than other hand held devices that are not really designed for human temperature screening that are being promoted in the marketplace. Some of these devices have a variable range of 3 to 5 degrees which is obviously useless in this setting where accuracy and consistency is so important.
So Are Thermal Camera’s Useful?
On their own, in the words of the World Health Organisation, these temperature screening devices “may not be very effective”. That is because they are just one tool of many used to help detect symptoms associated with COVID-19. However, there are no real negatives to having one of these devices as an additional layer of security providing all other official guidelines are followed and there is absolutely no denying that they can detect fever symptoms in some cases that would otherwise go unnoticed. The fever may not be associated with COVID-19, otherwise known as a false positive, but we are currently dealing with a global pandemic and cannot afford to take any risks.
With our solution in particular, the device can also be set up in face-mask detection mode which is perfect for unmanned, autonomous face-mask wearing enforcement.
More Than Temperature Screening
With all the above taken into account, let’s not forget our Vital solution is truly much more than temperature screening. The unit can be a permanent fixture for years to come in many business settings utilising facial recognition / swipe card / password door access control and/or built-in time & attendance monitoring. In the food sector especially, the ability to detect fever of any kind before entering a food processing factory is invaluable. For full information on our Vital solution, visit the following page (https://www.lcsgroup.com/vital) or watch the video below:
- BBC: Can thermal cameras help spot coronavirus?
- MHRA: Guidance on coronavirus
- WHO: Coronavirus disease advice
- BBC: Can thermal cameras help spot coronavirus?