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Health officials say temperature screening appears less effective to identify those infected with COVID-19

Coronavirus

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – Temperature screening appears to be a less effective tool in identifying people potentially infected with COVID-19 than originally thought.

That’s the word from Contra Costa Health Services.​

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says temperature screening is optional for businesses attempting to confirm or rule out that an employee may be infected with COVID-19.

Contra Costa Health Services going a step further saying it does not recommend the practice.​

“First, there’s many people who are asymptomatic. So, you’re not going to catch those with a temperature screen. Second, a lot of these non-contact temperature thermometers are only measuring the surface temperature of your skin, which is different from the core body temperature, that say an oral thermometer  would measure. And, so, they’re a little less accurate,” Ori Tzvieli said. ​​

Dr. Ori Tzvieli heads Contra Costa County’s COVID-19 operational response.​

He says temperature screening can actually have negative consequences.​

​“Often temperature screening is putting the person doing the screening in close contact with the person whose being screened, and so that slightly elevates the risk for those two individuals to be interacting with each other and potentially infect each other, if one of them is infected,” Tzvieli said. ​​

​Tzvieli says symptom screening is a more effective infection control measure for COVID-19.​

“The common symptoms of COVID-19, fever is one of them, cough, shortness of breath. There’s this other symptom that seems to be relatively specific to COVID-19, which is a loss of sense of taste or smell,” Tzvieli said. ​​

The county is offering free testing at ten different sites.​

State testing is also available.​

Health services says it is concerned about the virus continuing to spread.​

The county has seen a spike in infections in recent weeks and not merely as a result of increased testing because hospitalizations for COVID-19 are also on the rise.​

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