Florida town uses 'smart thermometers' to anticipate virus hotspots
ST. AUGUSTINE – John Regan is the city manager of America’s oldest city and he's used to hosting droves of tourists from around the country, most of them eager to enjoy St. Augustine’s tranquil beaches.
But when the spread of novel coronavirus brought the Floridia city’s thriving tourist industry to a screeching halt, Regan devised a plan to help officials get ahead of the outbreak.
According to ABC news, Regan struck a deal with Kinsa, a Silicon Valley-based health technology firm that claims to have created an innovative way to find out where clusters of novel coronavirus are most likely to occur.
Kinsa develops internet-connected personal thermometers that can provide real-time data that might be able to anticipate when and where the next coronavirus hot spot could happen. This would help areas like St. Augustine prepare.
Regan bought 600 thermometers from Kinsa to distribute to St. Augustine residents, Tuesday.
The thermometers, which are connected to a smartphone app, are designed to crowd-source unusual fever activity in real-time.
When users record their temperature, that data, devoid of personal information, is uploaded to the company’s database and reflected in an interactive map at the county level.
The result is a heat map displaying potential trouble spots in the community.
While this technology seems useful, critics argue that not everyone diagnosed with coronavirus has a fever. Some patients are asymptotic.
That said, Regan is believes the data from the new thermometers will be helpful in St. Augustine’s fight against the virus pandemic.