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The Burke County Medical Society and Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge have teamed up to offer free thermometers to families receiving free meals through Burke County Public Schools.

The thermometers will be delivered starting March 24, at the eight BCPS school food distribution sites. The thermometers are intended for any community member who does not have a working thermometer in their home.

“One of the symptoms (of the coronavirus) we screen for is temperature,” said Gandhari Loomis, DO, a family physician at Table Rock Family Medicine and president of the Burke County Medical Society. “The definition of fever is a reading of 100.4 degrees or higher when taken under the tongue.”

Dr. Loomis said patients often say they have a temperature but when asked for the recorded number, they respond that they don’t know because they don’t have a thermometer.

“Knowing the specific temperature is imperative for clinicians to be able to make appropriate decisions for patients,” Loomis said.

Thermometers will be available at the Burke County Health Department and distributed to several physician offices, urgent cares, emergency departments, EMS, churches and homeless shelters.

Loomis said the Medical Society approached hospital leaders last week about collaborating on the project. That same day, CHS Blue Ridge placed an order for 4,000 digital thermometers. The Burke County Medical Society is a community-based organization of physicians and PAs who work closely with the NC Medical Society on a variety of healthcare advocacy projects.

BCPS Superintendent Larry Putnam said the school system and community are grateful for the donation of 400 thermometers to our families that need them.

“We are filling in the gap and putting meals in thousands of children’s hands each day and now being able to offer families these thermometers too is just another way to make providing the basics needs and focusing on health and safety a priority,” Putnam said. “This donation from the Burke County Medical Society and Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge could not be more appreciated and will most definitely provide for families in need. It is wonderful to see our community rise up and come together during this uncertain time through partnerships like this.”

Visit for the feeding sites.

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