Doctors: You might not have fever, but you could still have coronavirus

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, health care workers identified a low-grade fever as one of the main symptoms of being infected.

Now, some hospital workers say they’re seeing COVID-19 patients who aren’t experiencing a fever.

“Temperature is just one of the signs and symptoms of COVID,” said Tawanda Washington with the Duval County Health Department. “It should be a part of the COVID screening, but it’s not the end-all be-all when we’re talking about someone being positive versus negative.”

Dr. Michael Koran of the Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research has spent months studying COVID-19. He says some people experience fever and others don’t because every virus has characteristics that affect people differently.

“One of my favorite studies on this is this actually came from the Diamond Princess cruise ship where half the people who ultimately turned out to be COVID positive had minimal or no symptoms,” Koran said.

At some facilities, like the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office headquarters, temperature checks are mandatory before visitors are allowed inside. But just because someone passes through with a normal body temperature, doesn’t mean that person is free of the virus. It’s why health care workers say it’s important to keep a mask on.

“Relatively small percentage of people will actually have a fever should help you understand that you don’t trust your body temperature as a way of making the diagnosis,” Koran said.

Koran went on to say that a fever along with other known COVID-19 symptoms might not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. They could also be a sign of something else, like the flu. That’s why doctors urge people experiencing symptoms to visit a testing site.

On a side note, state-run testing sites -- like the one at Regency Square Mall -- will reopen Tuesday. They were closed as a precaution due to Isaias.

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