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As the U.S. economic slowdown caused by coronavirus continues to take its toll, companies including Amazon and Tyson Foods are checking employees' temperatures in hopes of keeping their facilities operating virus-free.
Such companies distributing food and critical supplies are staying open but, in Amazon's case at least, are also finding themselves unable to ensure employees are coronavirus-free. For example, the number of Amazon warehouses impacted the virus had risen to 24 as of last week.
Meanwhile, a record number of Americans are filing for unemployment insurance as the nearly nationwide lockdown appears to have no end in sight.
The company will perform temperature checks on employees as soon as they arrive at work. Anyone with a slight fever above 100.4 degrees will be sent home, which is a CDC recommendation.
Miami Fire Rescue workers wearing personal protective equipment, right, check the temperature of a homeless man complaining of symptoms, during the new coronavirus pandemic, Friday, April 3, 2020, in the Overtown neighborhood of Miami. (AP Photo/Lynn
Tyson Foods is taking the temperatures of all employees, but it has installed walkthrough infrared temperature scanners at a few locations.
"Tyson Foods’ role as America’s largest food company is critical. We’re doing all we can to protect our team members and to keep our operations open," a company spokesperson told FOX Business. "We plan to implement more infrared temperature scanners into more facilities. The scanners are an additional tool to make sure we’re using as many efficient methods as possible to protect team members."
Companies like California-based Defense Technologies International are taking advantage of the increased market for such devices. DTII announced Monday that it will "enhance" its Passive Portal walk-through scanner with the addition of an infrared camera that detects elevated body temperature. The company said it will be able to offer such portals in six to nine weeks.
State Rep. Jason Hughes, D-Dist. 100, has his temperature taken as he arrives at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge, La., Tuesday, March 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
However, the FDA hasn't approved any devices to detect coronavirus fevers specifically. Companies should still ensure that everyone in the workplace is being safe and taking social distancing seriously, David Bowen, head of Policy and Public Affairs at WPP Health & Wellness, told FOX Business.
"This coronavirus is a stealth fighter, able to spread even before symptoms show," Bowen said. "While temperature checks can detect people who are sick, that's not a guarantee against contagion, since the virus can be transmitted even by people who appear healthy."