ATLANTA — When many people lost their jobs and had little money to feed their families after the pandemic forced businesses and schools to close, they turned to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
Now, the bank is giving away 40 percent more food that before COVID-19.
“We are the grocery store for the people that we serve,” said the bank’s CEO, Kyle Waide. “We’re now distributing about two million pounds of food a week.”
Waide searched for a way to ensure their workers entering their main facility were safe and healthy.
Dr. William Yates, provided a solution.
“Taking a temperature is something very simple that should be done in a non-contact way,” said Yates, a Chicago-based trauma surgeon with ties to Atlanta.
After hearing the news of Georgia’s reopening, Dr. Yates donated a wall-mounted thermal detector to the bank.
“I had seen an article from the day before on a food bank in Dallas where people who ordinarily did not need a food bank, they had good jobs, were standing in a two hour long line, so I said this would probably be the best place to donate to a place that was just opening up and the food banks," explained Yates.
Yates Enterprises produces the thermal detector priced and valued at $5,000.
The detector screens a person’s body temperature, without any contact, and gives off an alarm if someone has an elevated fever. Dr. Yates said the device will retest a person, if they have a fever above 99.
Although many people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, and a fever doesn’t always mean a person has the virus, Yates believes the thermal detector is the best solution under current circumstances.
“Because you can’t take everyone’s blood, you can’t swab them and wait for the test to come back,” Yates said. “In the group that are symptomatic, the number one thing they’re going to have is a fever.”
Waide agreed and applauded Yates for the donation, which he said is keeping their operations moving.
“It helps us get more food to more people, so it’s great to see a company give back like this," said Waide.
The Food bank hopes to get a second device for a separate entrance that volunteers and agencies use to pick up food. Waide says when they fully reopen, no one will be allowed in without first getting a temperature screening.
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