Thursday, April 02, 2020

Coronavirus: St. Augustine to use smart thermometers against COVID-19. (SAR)

Once again, the itty-bitty city of St. Augustine lacks a welcoming spirit to questions and behaves badly.

I am still waiting for documents on this scheme from the City of St. Augustine.

  • Were city, state and federal laws and regulations complied with in this sweetheart contract with a 90% monopolist?
  • How are the 600 homes chosen and by whom, and with what scientific integrity?
  • Will HIPPAA, medical privacy, internet security and Data Quality Act compliance be respected and not neglected?
  • Why is the City paying $20 per thermometer, when Kinsa has often provided them for free?

You tell me.

  • Only belatedly did the City of St. Augustine, after its corporate press release, attempt to involve the City of St. Augustine Beach and St. Johns County. Is City Manager John Patrick Regan, P.E. ahead of his skis again?
  • Thermometers won't be delivered until 4/21, after the peak projected for the coronavirus.
  • Those government offiials who heard Regan's presentation last week were unimpressed.
  • Not approved by City Commission, whose meetings are cancelled until May 8, 2020.

From the St. Augustine Record:

Coronavirus: St. Augustine to use smart thermometers against COVID-19

By Sheldon Gardner
Posted Mar 31, 2020 at 10:51 AM
The city of St. Augustine plans to use smart thermometers to help predict and respond to any potential spread of COVID-19 in the area.

The city is working on a pilot project with Kinsa, a company that sells smart thermometers and has over 1 million thermometers in American homes, according to information from the company.

The smart thermometers are paired with a mobile app, and the company has used the technology to predict flu spread by tracking fevers, according to a project document.

“With these real-time sensors, Kinsa has accurately predicted flu epidemics weeks in advance of the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s) own surveillance tool,” according to a project document.

Fever is a common symptom of the coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization.

Recently, “Kinsa’s data indicated an unusual rise in fevers in South Florida, even though it was not known to be a Covid-19 epicenter. Within days, testing showed that South Florida has become an epicenter,” according to the document.

Kinsa has an interactive map of illness data at

With a shortage of COVID-19 tests, officials hope the thermometer technology will give early warnings to health officials and help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Record is providing this important health information for free. Help support our journalism. SUBSCRIBE HERE.

The thermometers could help the city not just now but in the future, such as if COVID-19 dies down in the summer and returns in cooler months, St. Augustine City Manager John Regan said.

The project is expected to launch on April 22.

Regan said he ordered 600 thermometers at $20 each and has been working on a plan to distribute them. The city will provide the thermometers to certain people who voluntarily agree to use them.

Having 600 thermometers along with what people are already using will total a statistically meaningful number for monitoring, Regan said.

“The project will prioritize households of first responders most likely in contact with the virus, large member households, and family households in underserved communities,” according to project details.

City and Kinsa officials plan to create a dashboard for monitoring data in the city to be used by public health officials and first responders, according to a project document.

The data can be used to identify temperature spikes and determine when to test people, implement quarantines and use other measures to protect public health.

The pilot project could help public health efforts elsewhere, according to project officials.

“It is anticipated that the City pilot project will be the densest temperature sentinel network to date,” according to a project document. “Besides protecting the health of our neighbors in the City of St. Augustine, the pilot results may lead to an evolution and change in the nation’s public health monitoring programs.”

Regan said he would like to see other local governments get on board. He said he planned to reach out to St. Johns County government and the city of St. Augustine Beach.

This week, St. Augustine Beach City Manager Max Royle said he was interested in learning more.

And Michael Ryan, county spokesman, shared a statement with The Record via email:

“Several of our staff members were provided with a brief overview of the proposed project and will be monitoring its progress within the city if it comes to fruition. At this time, the focus of our energy and resources is dedicated to responding to the emergency at hand as it will most likely continue to evolve and impact our community for the next several weeks, if not months.”

The city’s plan came about with the help of Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline, Regan said.

Sikes-Kline also said she would like to see the program expand countywide.

“I think that we’re going to be able to use this system as a sentinel early warning system for the health of the community. ... It’s a tried-and-true system, and I think we’re pretty excited about it,” she said.

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