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Denture clinic goes high-tech with COVID safety

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While there is still much that is unknown about the COVID-19 virus, Curtis Denture Clinic in Fort Frances isn’t taking any chances with the health of their patients or staff.

The clinic has recently installed a brand-new and state of the art piece of tech that’s designed to track patients health in a quick, easy and contact free way. Called the Kentix SmartXcan, the little black box mounted on the wall will instantly and accurately read the body temperature of anyone entering the office without requiring a staff member to get close enough that physical distancing becomes an issue.

“This isn’t about ‘look what we’ve got,’ this is about keeping everyone safe,” said Shannon Curtis.

According to Curtis, the device is ideal for monitoring the health of patients. Fever is one of the symptoms often associated with COVID-19 –and many other transmissible illnesses – and the scanner is fully automated. Visitors to the clinic are required to stand in front of the machine and lean over to bring their face within optimal range for scanning. The device then waits until that person’s face is the correct distance away to register an accurate temperature, which is then shown on a computer screen at the front desk. Anyone running a temperature above the normal range can then be quickly informed and sent home, keeping them and those around them safe. And Curtis said it’s already being put to work.

“We had three people last week,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean they have COVID. But they’re running a temp, and if they do have COVID, why compromise this building? It’s like the flu; one person turns into two people, those two turn into four...”

While whoever is working the desk can see the information, Curtis stressed that the device is compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), meaning that the clinic isn’t collecting the data for wider use, instead only logging the information in a patient’s file.

“That way, say a patient is okay this week, they can phone and ask ‘hey, when was my temperature OK?’” Curtis said.

“So they know that between when they were here, when they were last scanned, and if they do get it, ‘here are the places I was,’ and maybe can track it. We aren’t keeping data to track it.”

Curtis said he purchased the unit in Winnipeg from ClearlyInSight, a company that deals in security systems, and that security is exactly what he intended for his staff and patients. Added to the two high-tech surgical quality air purifiers he has running in the office, the SmartXcan can give everyone who enters the office a certain peace of mind, something Cindy Manty, who works at Curtis Denture Clinic and is a cancer-survivor, said she appreciates.

“I work with a lot of people who are going through a lot of stuff,” Manty said.

“Chemo ruins teeth so people lose teeth, so dentures. Immunity systems are down. And then what’s less invasive for me too? I don’t want to be close to people when screening, and if I’m out and Shannon’s out, the office is down.”

Curtis said he’s hoping that other businesses in the area begin to adopt similar high-tech security features that will help to keep their customers and staff safe as well, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be surrounded by so much uncertainty, particularly when it comes to when and how it will end. Until such a time as an effective treatment method or vaccine can be implemented though, Curtis Denture Clinic is leaving nothing to chance if it can be helped.

“Between acrylic for Cindy, quarter-inch plexi, [the SmartXcan], surgically clean air units, and physical distancing circles, I can’t get any more compliant than what we are,” Curtis said.

“All we’re trying to do is keep everybody in the building safe, including the staff next door, they’re dealing in mouths too. If we can keep everybody safe I just feel better going home at night.”

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