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Smart thermometers being used to track spread of coronavirus

The health technology company Kinsa has created a smart thermometer that records fevers as well as other health information you enter into their app, allowing people to track the spread of illnesses like COVID-19 in their community.

It’s already been used to predict outbreaks: Back in March, the software predicted a surge in Floridian cases, with a peak around March 22. Roughly two weeks later, we saw a similar surge in cases, as state data first trended above 1,000 positive cases per day in early April.

Nita Nehru from Kinsa explained how case data follows the company’s forecasts:

“When people first get sick, what they do is they take a temperature,” Nehru said. “Then they end up going for a COVID[-19] test, the COVID[-19] test takes a few days to come back positive. And then, after a few days of being ill, then they enter into a hospital, for example. So all of those pieces have lags.”

With Thanksgiving next week, many health officials are worried travel will create an increase in cases. While AAA predicts 50 million people plan to travel for the holiday, only half as many Americans are expected to fly compared to last year.

If you plan to travel, Kinsa has created an online tool where you can enter in the zipcode you’re visiting to get an idea of how bad cases are there. When the tool was tested with Lee County, it scored a 63; that puts our community in the high risk category, because COVID-19 cases are high and continuing to spread.

Kinsa says it’s seeing similar trends across the country.

“What we’re seeing is that a lot of the areas of the country are in high to critical risk,” Nehru said. “I actually just yesterday pulled all the lowest risk counties. And, unfortunately, there is no county right now that is low risk.”

If you do plan to travel, local doctors encourage you to continue wearing your masks, maintaining social distance as best as you can and washing your hands frequently.

Reporter:Janae Muchmore
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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