Coronavirus: Christchurch rest home trialling thermal imaging camera temperature tests

A thermal imaging camera measuring body temperature is being installed in a Christchurch rest home to help the fight against COVID-19.

All 60 staff are taking part in the trial and are tested before they start work in an effort to keep their elderly residents safe. 

The camera was originally designed for pest control, but it's been reworked and installed at George Manning Rest Home for humans.

"We've adapted this so it will show if you've got an elevated body temperature," manufacturer Sean Ryan says.

What sets this technology apart is it's extremely fast and efficient. The thermal camera takes seconds to measure your skin temperature, and you're either given the green light to go ahead or the red light to turn around.

The rest home is trialling the device after it was confirmed as Canterbury's second COVID-19 cluster.

Two residents and two staff members tested positive to the virus, but they've all since recovered.

"They're really quite enjoying it. When we were first bringing people down just to show them how it works - that was a bit of fun," George Manning manager Gail Herse says.

Two-hundred of the machines are currently in production.

"We're already working with a number of corporates around New Zealand supermarkets, we've got a trial at Christchurch Police Station, so there's potentially any place where there's going to be people," Ryan says.

The CEO of Heritage Lifecare says after the trial is complete, they will assess whether the camera has added value.

"I can see more and more aged care providers putting more of this type of technology at their doorways, possibly for a long time," Norah Barlow says.

Thermal technology on the front to keep check on any suspect fevers.