Elevated core temperature constitutes an important biomarker for COVID-19 infection; however, no standards currently exist to monitor fever using wearable peripheral temperature sensors. Evidence that sensors could be used to develop fever monitoring capabilities would enable large-scale health-monitoring research and provide high-temporal resolution data on fever responses across heterogeneous populations. We launched the TemPredict study in March of 2020 to capture continuous physiological data, including peripheral temperature, from a commercially available wearable device during the novel coronavirus pandemic. We coupled these data with symptom reports and COVID-19 diagnosis data. Here we report findings from the first 50 subjects who reported COVID-19 infections. These cases provide the first evidence that illness-associated elevations in peripheral temperature are observable using wearable devices and correlate with self-reported fever. Our analyses support the hypothesis that wearable sensors can detect illnesses in the absence of symptom recognition. Finally, these data support the hypothesis that prediction of illness onset is possible using continuously generated physiological data collected by wearable sensors. Our findings should encourage further research into the role of wearable sensors in public health efforts aimed at illness detection, and underscore the importance of integrating temperature sensors into commercially available wearables.