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Posted on: April 20, 2020

Thermometer project launches

City Manager John Regan stands at the drive-through window with city staff inside the building, both

People who work with the public, families with multiple children are prime candidates

On Tuesday, April 21, the City of St. Augustine, in collaboration with Kinsa, Inc., will launch its community health monitoring initiative by distributing 600 thermometers to eligible volunteer candidates, prioritizing city residents, utility customers, large-member households, and households with members who come in contact and interact with the public as part of their daily work or volunteering.  

Anyone interested can call 904.825.1006 and select Option 1 to be connected with city staff.  The call center phone lines will be manned from 8:00am until 4:00pm, starting on Tuesday morning.

 “The purpose of the project is to give our public health officials a real-time monitoring tool that detects changes in our public health so that they can promptly respond,” City Manager John Regan said.

City residents and utility customers will be the first to receive thermometers, if they qualify.  “Ideally, participants live in a larger household (more than 3) and their employment or volunteering puts them in higher level of exposure to larger numbers of people in the community,” Regan offered.  “These are not only our first responders, public safety officers and healthcare workers… but also school teachers, grocery store clerks, restaurant and hospitality workers, or any of the support staff within these professions.”

The project will soon expand to include residents outside of the city limits thanks to in-kind donations resulting in the purchase of 300 additional thermometers.

Callers will speak directly to city staff monitoring the phone lines and will be asked six simple questions, starting with your name and address, and if you have a mobile phone that connects to the internet.  The data is monitored through the Kinsa smartphone application, but no personal information is conveyed with a temperature measurement to the monitoring network.  The address in this case also identifies the caller as a city resident, utility customer, or non-city resident.

Additional questions include whether you, or a member of your household physically leaves the home for work, and interacts with 10 or more people on any given workday.  Also, how many people live in your household, and if you think a smart thermometer would be helpful.

The answers will be recorded and given a certain point value.  The final cumulative score determines the caller’s eligibility for receiving a thermometer.  

A City resident or utility customer with a qualifying score will qualify for a thermometer, and be given the choice to pick-up the device at the drive-through window located at 50 Bridge Street, or the city will make arrangements to hand-deliver it to your home.

Someone with a qualifying score who is not a city resident or utility customer will be placed on a wait list and be eligible for next wave of distribution.

Those with a non-qualifying score can purchase a thermometer at a retail store or online. Whether the city provides the thermometer, or it is purchased privately, any registered device is automatically included in this project network.

“It is our goal to distribute these 900 thermometers so that we can begin collecting data in what will be the densest real time temperature network in the country,” concluded the City Manager, “but the number one priority of this program is to keep our community healthy!”

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