As Alberta re-launches its economy, the world watches. Everyone is curious about how effective our measures are going to be. Many countries, like Germany, did their own re-launch to return to a new normal. It is unfortunate to hear that there was a spike of new cases after Germany’s re-launch. The report came as thousands of Germans recently gathered to call for an end to the lockdown. While we all want to go back to our normal ways, we are not there yet. But we are all in this together in finding ways that will better protect each and every person.
The first to re-launch was Wuhan, China and Korea followed after. COVID-19 is still here. As a columnist, I believe we need to take a look at effective ways that have helped us slowly flatten this curve. So let us look at the measures and tools that were put into place when the pandemic started.
Social Distancing has been one of the key elements to help limit the spread of the virus. Staying six feet apart has helped slow down the spread of the virus. The Corona Virus spreads when a person who is infected coughs or sneezes. Distancing ourselves from others helps prevent the contact of droplets from coughing or sneezing. So how was this procedure implemented? Businesses such as grocery stores put tape markings on the floor to ensure that people are 6 feet away from the next person.
Every grocery store or retailer has signs on the floor. An employee mans the door to ensure clients follow the distancing rules while tracking the amount of people inside the premises at a given time, which is in line with government restrictions. In retail stores, sneeze guards (acrylic plastic barriers) have been put in place to protect employees from coughs and sneezes. The implementation of other notable practices such as the heavy use of disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and chemical-based cleaning solutions has been very evident since the start of the outbreak. This was the reason why there was a spike in chemical poisoning in March of this year.
So what other solutions have been effective in the fight against COVID-19? A major grocery chain was using contactless temperature guns to measure for fever, a strategy that Wuhan did apply when they re-launched the economy. The only problem with the use of the contactless temperature gun is that an employee has to manually scan each and every person before they enter, which is a risk to the employee and could be very tiring. Other companies have resorted to better tools like the Camera Scanning System normally used in airports. These automated systems are usually very expensive and cost prohibitive to small to medium size businesses, as the average unit cost is between $15,000 to $25,000 dollars or more.
So, for businesses already struggling to make ends meet, this is cost prohibitive. But in doing my research, we were able to find a better tool called TMC888, which is more cost effective and can help small to medium size businesses automatically scan for fever, thus protecting not only their employees but also their shoppers. What is more unique is that it has a voice prompt to tell clients to step in front of the camera so it can to start scanning their temperature. It does this one person at a time and the scan lasts a few seconds which allows for the social distancing required, unlike other thermal scanners that scan multiple people at the same time even if they are not social distancing. It not only records the temperature of the person, but the video as well and stores data of the date and time for reference just in case of an outbreak. This way, the clusters can be easily identified. When the TMC888 camera senses abnormal temperature, it will sound an alarm on your mobile phone or iPad or PC.
The TMC888 is great for deterring sick people from coming to your establishment, keeping your place of business safe. In addition, this tool costs way less than the scanners found in airports. Best of all, it is already available in Alberta, particularly in Edmonton and Calgary.
Is this solution a guarantee that there will be no further infections? Definitely not, but it will help. Amazon recently announced it will use thermal cameras to check employee temperature and some grocery workers are undergoing checks before reporting to their jobs. According to Jai Marathe, an infectious disease physician at the Boston Medical Center & Professor at Boston University School of Medicine, “During the time the virus is multiplying, once it reaches its critical level, it causes the body to respond with robust symptoms. In the case of COVID-19, one of the most common symptoms experienced by patient is fever.” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Califonia Governor Gavin Newsom will be implementing temperature checks in their reopening strategy. Disney Parks are also considering temperature checks. If so, small to medium size businesses in Alberta should look into the TMC888 as a risk management solution to prevent the spread of the virus.
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