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  • New scanners aimed at curbing cost of temperature checks

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    July 22, 2020

    EL CENTRO — For months the Imperial Irrigation District has been paying contracted security personnel to test employees’ body temperatures when they report to work, and it hasn’t been cheap.

    Tony Allegranza, IID chief information officer, who specializes in information technology, told the board of directors Tuesday that the district currently pays $25,000 monthly conduct these checks manually.

    That’s why the district decided to bite the bullet and order equipment that would automate the procedure. Allegranza said the district has already taken delivery of two thermal temperature scanners and will receive another 40 of them in a week or two. 
     

    Each thermal scanner will cost the district $2,444 for a total cost of $97,760. This cost does not include the two thermal scanners already purchased.

    In order for scanners to be licensed there will be a portal charge of $50 for each device every six months, which amounts to another $2,000.

    Allegranza’s team will help install the scanners.

    The IID’s temperature plan includes a combination of stand-alone thermal scanners, security guard or supervisor handheld thermometer scanning and employee self-scans when necessary.

    He said that when compared to $25,000 per month, it won’t take long for the equipment to pay for itself. He added that employees will have to be educated about the new tests that can take body temperatures of people automatically and from a distance.

    When an employee tests positive, an email will be sent out to certain IID staff to name the employee and the positive test. The hope is sick employees will contact their supervisors and follow the directions that include being tested to determine if they have the coronavirus.

    Generated reports will also help identify which employees are not scanning, but seasonal procedures may differ due to temperature fluctuations.

    Of the 40 scanners, one will be a spare. The locations where the scanners will be placed depend on the number of employees at each location, environmental factors for site placement, supervisor availability and access for handheld thermometers and a permanent guard location.
     

    In May, Human Resources Manager Dan DeVoy asked IID directors to approve a budget adjustment of more than $113,000 to pay the Securitas security firm for conducting temperature checks for any person who arrived at one of the IID offices.

    The purchase of the thermal scanners did not require separate board approval.

    All of the directors but Norma Sierra Galindo attended Tuesday’s meeting remotely. They were told that the district could be purchasing more of the scanners in the future.

    IID said 42 of its employees have tested positive for the coronavirus so far.

    Contact:
    Michael Maresh, I.V. Press