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No travelers flagged for fevers after Sea-Tac Airport installs thermometer

A thermometer that checks the temperatures of Sea-Tac travelers has screened about 6,700 passengers.

SEATAC, Wash. — In its first week of operation, a new machine that screens Sea-Tac Airport passengers for fevers didn't catch any travelers with a high temperature.

"It’s been very well received by the public and it's been a really helpful and informative proof of concept," Julie Collins, Sea-Tac Airport director of customer experience, said during a meeting with airport management Tuesday.

The airport instituted the pilot program about two weeks ago. It's entirely voluntary, but the machine will flag passengers running a temperature over 100.4 degrees.

The scanner has screened 6,700 passengers so far and checks about 700 people per day, according to the airport.

Although the airport hasn't found any travelers with a high fever yet, Collins said flagged passengers would go through additional medical screening to determine why they have an elevated temperature.

Collins said the airport has faced some challenges with the temperature checks, including higher staff demands, keeping passenger traffic flowing efficiently and making sure passengers are removing hats and glasses and looking at the camera.

RELATED: American, Southwest end face mask medical exceptions; Delta expands testing

The temperature checker is just one of several safety measures the airport implemented during the coronavirus pandemic.

Motion censors are being installed to restroom faucets. A new app, which allows travels to purchase food and limit contact with staff, is available for download.

Since May 18, face coverings have been required inside the airport.

The airport has escalated it's cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Staff spend 5,000 hours a week cleaning and so far the airport has gone through 1,268 gallons of hand sanitizer, 1,394 containers of sanitizer wipes and more than 5,012 ounces of disinfecting spray.

During the Tuesday meeting, airport officials said passengers can expect a full-time worker at the TSA checkpoint sanitizing the bins and bowls that get sent through security.

Still, the airport is urging people who are sick to stay home.

RELATED: Sea-Tac Airport to take passenger temperatures to reduce COVID-19

Passenger traffic is increasing, but travel is still nowhere near where it was in this time last year. Right now, the number of visitors sits near 15,900, which is a 76% decrease compared to 2019.