Emergency medical workers in San Francisco are wearing smart rings that can monitor body temperature in an effort to detect COVID-19 symptoms early


Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital

  • Medical workers at two hospitals in San Francisco will wear smart rings in an effort to detect COVID-19 signs early, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  • Wearable tech startup Oura will be supplying the rings. 
  • The program’s goal is to help medical workers notice that they might be sick before experiencing symptoms.
  • A long-term goal is to supply researches with enough data to develop an algorithm for COVID-19 detection.
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Emergency medical workers at two hospitals in San Francisco will begin wearing smart rings that can detect their body temperature and other metrics in an attempt to detect coronavirus infections early, according to a report from The San Francisco Chronicle.

Staff at UCSF Medical Center and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital will begin wearing smart rings made by wearable tech startup Oura, which makes a ring that can monitor a wearer’s sleep, heart rate, temperature, and steps. 

The goal of the program is two-fold, according to the report. In the short term, UCSF’s Dr. Ashley Mason, who is spearheading the project, hopes the rings could help emergency room professionals tell when they’re getting sick so that they can stay home and avoid spreading their illness, whether it’s the coronavirus disease or not.

But over the long term, Mason wants to use the rings to gather data from both healthy people and those infected with the coronavirus to learn about early warning signs that may precede symptoms, the report says. 

In addition to the 2,000 medical staff in San Francisco that will be wearing the rings, USCF is also urging Oura’s 150,000 customers to share their medical data to help researchers create an algorithm for early detection.

The initiative comes as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States. More than 2,000 coronavirus cases and 42 deaths have been reported in California, and the state is under a “shelter in place” order. Across the US, there have now been at least 581 deaths and more than 46,200 cases across all 50 states and Washington, DC.

Oura’s $300 smart ring is marketed as a health and fitness device for monitoring sleep, activity, and a category the company calls “readiness,” which includes metrics like resting heart rate, body temperature deviation, and heart rate variability among others. The company recently raised $28 million in Series B funding from Forerunner Ventures, Gradient Ventures, and Square.

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