County office offers no-touch thermometers to businesses

June 15, 2020

Kim Mann and Mariah Washington of Richland County Economic Development deliver non-contact infrared thermometers to Jay Metts of McEntire Produce. McEntire is taking precautions, including temperature checks for employees outside of its facility, in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Richland County’s Economic Development Office is distributing medical devices to businesses for screening employees.

The devices, non-contact infrared thermometers (NCITs), are geared toward private-sector businesses with frequent person-to-person contact.

As the region recovers from the health crisis and businesses begin reopening, some employers are checking workers’ temperatures, as fever is a symptom of COVID-19. Because NCITs do not need to touch the person being screened, they might reduce the risk of people spreading the disease.

The NCITs were recently allocated to states by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The S.C. Emergency Management Division then provided the devices to every county’s economic development office on a per capita basis.

Richland County Economic Development received 227 NCITs on June 4, and more are expected later. Since reaching out to qualifying businesses across the County about the thermometers, the office has received close to 50 requests.

“By distributing these thermometers,” said County Council Chair Paul Livingston, “Economic Development is helping our local businesses keep their employees healthy and safe from the spread of COVID-19, which will, in turn, help limit spreading throughout the rest of the community. I am pleased to see businesses eager to take precautions that will create a safer working environment in response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Economic Development staff began delivering NCITs to businesses around Richland County during the second week of June. More deliveries are planned as requests come in.

Most requests have come from manufacturers, but sectors such as distribution, agriculture, information technology, insurance and call centers have also requested NCITs.

“We really appreciate Richland County for providing these infrared no-touch thermometers,” said McEntire Produce CEO Carter McEntire. “These tools help us protect our team members, their families and our livelihoods.”