Date of Award

Winter 4-26-2021

Thesis Access

Open Access Honors Thesis

Degree Name



Honors College

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Tamara Hew-Butler, DPM, PhD, FACSM


This study investigates the usefulness of five objective signs, evaluates relationships between objective signs with symptoms of COVID-19, and assesses the accuracy of ambient forehead temperature with tympanic temperature. Data were collected at Wayne State University. Blood oxygen levels and blood pressure were measured via pulse oximeters and blood pressure cuff. Body temperature was measured with a thermometer via the temple and the forehead. Smell was tested with two scented markers. None of the 29 participants confirmed a positive COVID-19 test. Therefore, only relationships between vital sign measurements were reported. No significant correlations were revealed upon analysis. Infrared and temporal temperatures were not correlated (p=-0.252; r=0.2196). A slight correlation between the fall and winter cohort was found for heart rate (p=0.51). Three participants had an O2 saturation reading ≤ 90%, without any symptoms. Non-significant trends for three participants with low O2 saturation levels to have higher heart rate (94±25bpm vs. 79±14bpm; p=0.11) and lower systolic blood pressure (111±21 vs. 120±12mmHg; p=0.27) compared to those with O2 readings >90%. Infrared thermometers are inaccurate ≥99.5ºF; thus, they are ineffective in screening for fever associated with COVID-19. Blood pressure is ineffective for screening due to a lack of research on how COVID-19 affects blood pressure. How COVID-19 affects the heart is unknown; thus, heart rate could not be evaluated. Participants with low oxygen saturation tended to have lower systolic blood pressures and higher heart rates, indicating physiological disruptions. Finally, smell may be reliable for screening due to the high prevalence of anosmia.