Thermal Monitoring: A First Line of Defense in the Age of COVID-19

Stay Informed

It’s not a tightly held secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a tectonic shift in how the world functions and how it will move forward into a less certain future. As businesses, schools, governments, and communities look to safely reopen and resume some semblance of normal operations, the sheer volume of information and opinions available can overwhelm the senses.

But some beacons are lighting the way to answers. For instance, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have all issued guidance and recommendations for businesses during the pandemic, including:

  • Best practices for returning to work and preparing the workplace for COVID-19
  • Procedures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within the workplace
  • Cleaning and disinfection recommendations
  • Maintaining healthy business operations guidelines
  • Recommendations for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases in the workplace

Taking Precautions to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 

Per the CDC, the incubation period for COVID-19 can range from 2-14 days. That means, from the time one is exposed, it can take up to two weeks for any symptoms to appear. Those that are asymptomatic will not show symptoms at all but still carry the virus to pass on to others. So, as offices reopen, contagious individuals could potentially return to the work environment and increase the spread.

From regular hand-washing to wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing, organizations should follow best practices and use additional screening methods to help prevent the potential risk to lives and livelihoods.

That said, screening for symptoms is not necessarily an easy proposition. Fever detection has frequently been recommended as a screening level for healthcare facilities and spaces with high-risk people, but that can’t be done from a safe distance. Professionals wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE) must manually take the temperatures of everyone entering their facility.

The Benefits of Thermography 

But what about other types of facilities? How can a large office building take the individual body temperatures of every single person in the workforce trying to enter? Short answer: they can’t.

The answer is thermographic solutions. By employing thermographic technologies as the first layer of screening, companies and organizations can help reduce the risk of contagious individuals entering their facilities.

Thermography is the study of heat distribution in objects, regions, and structures using infrared methodologies. Also known as thermal graphic imaging, thermography refers to when the heat of an object is detected by a thermal imaging camera and displayed as an image or video.

It’s important to note that thermographic cameras and equipment cannot identify or diagnose COVID-19 or any other illness or disease. Nor can they accurately detect body temperature and fever – they can show temperature fluctuations in relation to others within a sample population of coverage, and sometimes provide a rough estimate of skin temperature.

Types of Thermographic Solutions

Though they shouldn’t be used for medical purposes, thermographic technologies can guide individuals that may require additional screening and evaluation before receiving access to a facility. There is a wide variety of thermographic solutions available in the marketplace, including:

  • Thermographic cameras
  • Contactless thermometers
  • Full-body temperature screeners
  • Remote monitoring stations

These products can sometimes even be connected to the company network for more efficient monitoring and analysis. If the user has ensured that they are complying with privacy rules, laws, or regulations associated with thermal monitoring, these solutions can be useful in a wide variety of environments and industries:

Offices Schools Retail Healthcare

Offices, Residential Buildings and Lobbies

Schools and Campuses

Retail and Hospitality

Healthcare and Extended Care

Manufacturing Transportation Theaters Utilities


Public Transportation

Theaters and Arena


As a global supply chain and technology leader, WESCO offers several outstanding thermographic solutions to meet the increasing demands of your safer operations strategies. We invite you to join us for our special expert webinar, “Thermal Monitoring: An Added Layer of Security,” on Wednesday, June 10th, at 11 AM EST. We’ll act as your guide through the complexities of thermography, introduce you to some of our best-in-class partners in the thermal space, and help you evaluate the growing field of new technologies to meet your needs. This Expert Webinar is BICSI accredited, so you can earn a continuing education credit with us as you learn.

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