If COVID-19 became highly contagious before people showed symptoms at work, CoolGard would be less effective at reducing the risk of community transmission. But following expert advice, early symptom detection by CoolGard can more certainly help protect others from exposure to the most infectious stages of the viral disease.
News.com.au reported Australia’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Kelly, as saying, “Most of that infectiousness happens in the first five days of people being sick. So far — mostly the infection is when someone is quite obviously sick, they know they are sick and they are transmitting it from person to person. Much less so before they get sick. So this is now quite clear.”
However, the medical opinion on COVID-19 transmission does not necessarily mean that people presenting to work with detectable symptoms are deliberately trying to infect workmates and members of the public with COVID-19, influenza, or any other transmissible illness. Many cases of workplace COVID-19 transmission as reported by news media have stemmed from employees who either didn’t realize they were experiencing physical symptoms or failed to connect their mild symptoms with the risk of transmitting a life-threatening infectious disease.
Relying on sick people to self-assess is a ‘Catch-22’
“Not everyone with an elevated body temperature is aware of having a slight fever,” said Melton White, inventor of Bat Booth 2.0, the personnel de-dusting unit used in mining and quarrying which was the first in the world to incorporate human body temperature checking as the 2020 pandemic unfolded. “We’ve learned from research into occupational heat stress by NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, US CDC). The loss of sound judgment is just one of the effects that can be experienced by people with elevated body temperature. So, if you’re relying on sick people to assess their own symptoms and act upon them sensibly, it’s a potentially deadly Catch-22,” he said.
CoolGard is discreet, automatic, secure
It can be disruptive and confronting for employees to be checked by a supervisor wielding a temperature gun and clipboard. Even automatic devices with audible alarms can be intimidating when triggered so that everyone in the vicinity can hear. People should not be made to feel like an ‘offender’ when their body temperature is elevated for some reason that needs medical investigation. The cause may not be COVID-19 or influenza and the person may not be aware of their condition.
CoolGard automatically identifies employees using facial recognition technology. Body temperature is checked instantly and automatically. When elevated body temperature is detected, the employee can be notified by a silent on-screen alert, site supervisors are notified by an instant alert, and any off-site managers can receive alerts and monitor workforce health across numerous sites through real-time dashboards accessible via desktop or mobile devices.
Public health protection starts at work
At Newmarch House, the NSW aged care facility that became one of Australia’s tragic epicenters of illness and fatality during the COVID-19 pandemic, a nurse had presented to work with very mild symptoms for six shifts, spreading COVID-19 to patients and other staff, before her highly infectious condition was realized. According to ABC News reports, the nurse was “mortified” and “distraught” over infecting others with COVID-19 when her symptoms had been “incredibly mild”. Even people with a greater-than-average awareness of diseases and safe working practices can be duped into believing they’re okay to work when they’re not. If it can happen with nurses, it can happen to anyone.
“CoolGard takes most of the iffiness out of determining whether or not people are safe to work,” said Ash Bosworth, managing director of Pulse Mining Systems, the Australian technology company that offers CoolGard to its clients in mining and other industries. “Australia, like many countries, has continued mining operations throughout lockdown periods. Mining is needed for the continuity of power generation and materials used for essential manufacturing. Australia’s mining industry is one of the world’s most technologically advanced. It makes sense for many of the world’s breakthroughs in workplace safety solutions to originate from meeting needs in the Australian mining industry,” he said.
Sources: News.com.au ABC.net.au