Top COVID-19 Health Screen Questions for EmployeesYi Jin, Ph.D.
We all want to get back to work, but we want to do so safely. An employee health questionnaire is one of the keys to accomplishing this and keeping COVID-19 out of the workplace. But a questionnaire is only as effective as the information it collects and compiles.
So how does a business or organization come up with the right set of questions? And how does it ask those questions, on a daily basis, in the most effective and least disruptive way possible?
The first place to look for answers to those questions is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which released a set of guidelines on May 6, 2020.
The Turing Non-Contact Body Temperature Thermal Scanner and Platform was developed to align with CDC guidelines, as well as other best practices being used to minimize the impact of COVID-19 in the workplace. It’s also important to note that Turing took into consideration the feedback it received after polling more than 230+ business owners, facility managers, and human resource managers.
It’s not practical to have employees spend 10 minutes every morning filling out a questionnaire. Nor is it advisable to simply ask employees to self-screen before leaving their homes. What percentage of employees—or students—would remember to take their temperature each and every morning?
“It’s not practical to have employees spend 10 minutes
every morning filling out a questionnaire.”
Turing’s thermal scanner strikes a balance between these two scenarios by optimizing technology to keep the workplace as safe as possible.
The process starts with a text-based health questionnaire that takes less than 30 seconds to complete. A quick scan then checks the temperature of the individual and detects the presence of a mask.
Finally, a badge is printed for the scanned person to wear for the day. Should the employee be diagnosed with COVID-19 in the future, the badge can be used in tandem with security footage to perform post-detection contact tracing in the workplace.
It’s for all these reasons that businesses, organizations and universities across the country are using the Turing Scanner.
And every day starts with a series of questions optimally designed to keep both employees and customers as safe as possible.
CDC Guidelines for Screening Questions
The CDC recommends screening as a vital first step in defending against COVID-19. At the same time, however, no business wants to be sending employees (or customers) home because they have a headache or a chronic cough.
To detect as many potential COVID-19 cases as possible without sending healthy people home, the CDC distinguishes between coughing that is new versus chronic. The CDC also distinguishes between a new and existing loss of taste or smell. But some symptoms will disqualify an employee from working whether they are new or old. Here is the CDC’s complete list of symptoms that are suggested to be included in screening guidelines:
- Fever or feeling feverish (chills, sweating)
- New cough
- Difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
- Muscle or body aches
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- New loss of taste or smell
In addition, the CDC advises that employees should either check their temperature prior to going to work or have their temperature checked at work. It states that employees should not enter the workplace if their temperature is either equal to or higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
The CDC stresses that employees should also stay home if they are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test or were previously diagnosed with COVID-19 and have not yet been cleared to discontinue isolation.
The Most Effective Screening Questions
While every screening protocol should align with CDC guidelines, there are additional steps that can be taken to protect the workplace during this pandemic.
“We examined best practices being utilized across the country.”
Before formulating our screening questions at Turing.
The American Medical Association, for example, recommends that patients be asked the following questions before being allowed to enter an office or clinic:
- Have you or anyone in your household had any of the following symptoms in the last 21 days: sore throat, cough, chills, body aches for unknown reasons, shortness of breath for unknown reasons, loss of smell, loss of taste, fever at or greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit?
- Have you or anyone in your household been tested for COVID-19?
- Have you or anyone in your household visited or received treatment in a hospital, nursing home, long-term care, or other health care facility in the past 30 days?
- Have you or anyone in your household traveled in the U.S. in the past 21 days?
- Have you or anyone in your household traveled on a cruise ship in the last 21 days?
- Are you or anyone in your household a health care provider or emergency responder?
- Have you or anyone in your household cared for an individual who is in quarantine or is a presumptive positive or has tested positive for COVID-19?
- Do you have any reason to believe you or anyone in your household has been exposed to or acquired COVID-19?
- To the best of your knowledge have you been in close proximity to any individual who tested positive for COVID-19?
Health departments across the country take a slightly different approach. The South Dakota Department of Health, for example, asks employees about all the usual symptoms such as fever, new cough, and vomiting, but includes more ambiguous symptoms such as runny nose and fatigue. The department also asks if an employee is caring for any family members diagnosed with COVID-19.
Given the desire of so many students (and their parents) to get back to campus, screening has taken on a heightened importance at universities across the country. At the University of California, Irvine, students go through a screening process that checks for a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, chills, muscle or body aches, a new cough, new shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, unexpected fatigue, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, headache, congestion, runny nose, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.
Given the many different protocols in place across the country, the challenge then becomes how to formulate the ideal set of screening questions. And how to make the screening process as easy and seamless as possible.
Turing’s COVID-19 Response Solution
The best screening protocols identify as many potential COVID-19 cases as possible, while still allowing healthy people to get their work done. It also aligns with CDC guidelines.
At Turing, our team of researchers and engineers has developed a scanner that accomplishes all of that—in a way that’s easy for both employers and employees to use on a daily basis.
“Best screening protocols identify as many potential COVID-19 cases as possible, while still allowing healthy people to get their work done”
The Turing Non-Contact Body Temperature Scanner and Platform works like this: Before entering the workplace, employees text “screening” to 424-203-4371 to activate the health questionnaire. They are then asked three questions.
- In the past 24 hours, have you had any signs or symptoms of a fever, such as chills, sweats, feeling “feverish,” or having a temperature that is elevated for you or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater?
- Do you have new onset or worsening of any of the following symptoms in the last 48 hours NOT related to allergies:
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest tightness
- Sore throat or unexplained loss of taste/smell
- Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
- In the last 14 days, have you:
- traveled outside of the United States?
- been in contact with anyone who has a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis?
- been notified that you may have been exposed to COVID-19?
After the questionnaire is finished, a QR code appears on the employee’s phone. The code is scanned before the non-contact Turing Scanner is used to take the employees temperature. The Turing Scanner also detects whether a face mask is being worn. If the employee is cleared to work, the Turing Scanner generates a badge to be worn by the employee while they are in the workplace that day.
Here’s a video of the process, which takes less than 30 seconds to complete.
About Turing Video
At Turing Video, it’s our mission to make these difficult times as easy—and safe—as possible for you and your team. The Turing Non-Contact Temperature Thermal Scanner and Platform helps accomplish that by integrating screening, temperature checks, and mask detection into one easy-to-use scanner. Contact us today or check out a demo to see how the Turing Scanner can help safeguard your employees and customers.