Corporate Wellness | By | 06/15/20 | 2 Minute Read

Help Employees Determine If They Have Signs of COVID-19 Using Key Health Metrics and Symptom Logging

How and when organizations bring employees back to the workplace is a complex decision; one you’re likely contemplating right now. And employees are concerned about coming back: a recent PwC poll showed that 70% of employees surveyed said they’d have a reason not to return to the workplace. Of that group, 51% said they feared getting sick from being at work, 24% said they were unwilling to take public transportation to get to work, and 21% said they couldn’t come back because they’re caring for sick family members.

Employees will look to you for assurance that their health and safety is a priority, and that you have initiatives in place to support them through the next phase of the pandemic and beyond. But what will you do to give them assurance? No single solution can guarantee that COVID-19 won’t spread in the workplace. The measures you put in place, however, can help determine if employees have signs of COVID-19 – but it can be more than just taking temperature and tracking acute symptoms. 

COVID-19 is a new and complex illness. Carriers can be contagious without displaying symptoms. Recent research in the journal Nature found that almost a third of people who tested positive in the US reported having a fever. Dr. Michael Snyder, Director of Genomics and Personalized Medicine at Stanford School of Medicine, said in a recent podcast: “We’re used to thinking that when you’re ill, your temperature goes up, which is true some of the time. But it’s not true all of the time, and with COVID-19, it’s definitely not true all of the time.” 

As for other symptoms associated with COVID-19? The CDC recently estimated that 40% of coronavirus transmission is occurring before the onset of symptoms. 

Fortunately, there’s promising science showing a potential link between continuous health metrics monitoring and illness detection. Early research shows that resting heart rate data and other key health indicators from wearables have the potential to identify flu-like illness before symptoms start. Regarding heart rate and illness, Dr. Snyder said this: “When measuring heart rate, even an increase of two heartbeats per minute could be indicative of a significant immune system response, which is why wearable devices can be important tools in assessing the overall health of employees as they prepare to return to work, especially when evaluating pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19.”


The Fitbit Care Ready for Work solution combines key health metrics from Fitbit devices with symptom, exposure, and temperature logging into an easy-to-use Daily Check-in feature that offers a more complete view of a user’s health and provides employees with guidance to help decide whether or not to go to the workplace.  We’re hosting an Open House to demo the solution and to ask employers like you what unique challenges you’re facing when it comes to workplace re-entry. We’d love to see you there, so register now.

This is a strange and unprecedented time, and it may be quite a while before “going to work” means what it used to. For some organizations, it may never be the same. As the company whose mission is to empower and inspire people to live a healthier, more active life, Fitbit is here to help you support your employees through this next phase of COVID-19 and beyond.

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