Beginning Monday, Dec. 14, before entering two city facilities visitors will have their temperature checked.
Temperature checks will be required before entering city hall at 300 W. Washington St. and the Kitchen Operations Center at 2602 S. Elm St. Those who have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher will be asked to leave the building.
The temperature checks are described in a press release as “a precautionary measure against COVID-19,” which raises two questions about the new city policy.
One is, why only two buildings? The city has a lot of buildings used by the public such as libraries, recreation centers, the Parks and Recreation office at 301 S. Greene St., the Cultural Arts Center, the History Museum, Greensboro Transit Agency Administrative Offices, the Doug Galyon Depot and the History Museum just to name a few.
According to the press release, the temperature check only applies to two of these facilities and happen to be the two where people can pay their water bills or other city bills in person.
The other question about temperature checks is, why now?
An article in The New York Times states, “But while health officials have endorsed masks and social distancing as effective measures for curbing the spread of the coronavirus, some experts scoff at fever checks. Taking temperatures at entry points is nothing more than theater, they say, a gesture that is unlikely to screen out many infected individuals, and one that offers little more than the illusion of safety.”
In July, the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) said it would stop requiring airport temperature checks for travelers arriving from other countries because the checks couldn’t identify silent carriers.
According to the New York Times, the CDC stated, “We now have a better understanding of COVID-19 transmission that indicates symptom-based screening has limited effectiveness because people with COVID-19 may have no symptoms or fever at the time of the screening or only mild symptoms.”
The New York Times quotes David Paltiel, a professor of health policy and management at Yale School of Public Health, as saying about temperature checks, “It’s a bad idea.”
One study showed that only 44 percent of COVID-19 patients had an elevated temperature when they were admitted to the hospital.