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Sheriff's deputies checking people's temperatures at York County Judicial Center

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
York County Sheriff's Deputy Paul Stoner offers a visitor a mask at the entrance to the building Tuesday, June 23, 2020. Thermal 213 devices are in use at the York County Courthouse. The device, funded with CARES Act money, uses thermal imaging to detect body temperature. Bill Kalina photo

York County sheriff's deputies are using two new security devices designed to protect courthouse visitors from exposure to the coronavirus.

Sheriff Rich Keuerleber said his office has stationed two Thermal 213 devices at the front entrance of the York County Judicial Center to check people's temperatures before they are allowed any further inside the building.

The single-person thermal wrist detection machines work by scanning a person's wrist temperature and taking a thermal image of the person, then averaging the two temperatures to determine if the person has a fever, the sheriff said.

Everyone coming in is scanned — employees and visitors — and must wear masks while in the center, according to Keuerleber.

And everyone with a fever is turned away, he said.

Gabrielle Collazo, 6, has her temperature checked by Thermal 213 device while visiting the York County Courthouse with her sister Emily, 12, and mother Claudia Tuesday, June 23, 2020. They live in York City. The device, funded with CARES Act money, uses thermal imaging to detect body temperature. Bill Kalina photo

There's a Thermal 213 device at each of the two security checkpoints at the front of the judicial center's foyer — one at the public checkpoint, the other at the employee checkpoint.

In conjunction with the temperature-scanning, deputies are asking people questions such as whether they've had flu-like symptoms and whether any of the person's family members have been exposed to COVID-19, according to the sheriff.

Photos not stored: Keuerleber said people who are concerned about the Thermal 213 devices taking their photographs need not be, because although the machines are taking photos, his office can't retrieve them and don't have the specific software to do that.

York County Sheriff's Deputy direct a visitor who'd used the that Thermal 213 devices are in use at the York County Courthouse Tuesday, June 23, 2020. The device, funded with CARES Act money, uses thermal imaging to detect body temperature. Bill Kalina photo

"We have no way of accessing those photos," he said, because the sole purpose of the machines is to flag people with fevers.

The devices store a certain number of photos, which are then overridden with new ones, the sheriff said.

"We're not storing them," Keuerleber said.

Claudia Collazo of York City has her temperature checked by Thermal 213 device while visiting the York County Courthouse with her daughters Gabrielle, 6, left, and Emily, 12, Tuesday, June 23, 2020. The device, funded with CARES Act money, uses thermal imaging to detect body temperature. Bill Kalina photo

He confirmed there are a number of security cameras inside and outside the judicial center that already are recording people's images.

Each Thermal 213 device cost $1,800 and was purchased with grant money from the federal CARES Act, he said.

Passed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CARES Act established a $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Local and county governments can use the money for "necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency," according to the treasury department.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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