Caregivers beat heat while giving COVID tests

Caregivers beat heat while COVID testing

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Meteorologically, fall has started but that does not mean the weather will cool down instantly.

The summertime heat is something frontline health care workers have been dealing with throughout the summer. With the extra COVID-19 precautions they must take while administering COVID tests, the heat intensity multiplies.

“I get here about 7:45, I set up the cones. Get everything that we need to get ready,” Freddie Reyna, a medical assistant at Covenant Health Plus at 7601 Quaker Ave., said. “Get the ice ready, get the drinks ready for us.”

Reyna is one of the small team of 3-4 people who are busy COVID-19 testing.

“It’s one of those things, that, whenever it’s a really hot day. You really don’t get used to it,” Jennifer Powell, a nurse at Health Plus, said.

Fortunately for employees like Powell, in this part of September, triple-digit temperatures are mostly uncommon.

By the end of the month, highs usually float around the ’80s.

“We do take turns so that we’re not outside always in the heat,” Powell said.

It is not a total escape from the heat.

The team works in a rotation. Some members are inside taking in the tests and doing computer work.

Others are outside giving the tests, covered head-to-toe in personal protective equipment.

“So we have these gowns. They look like they might be airy, but they’re not,” Powell said.

Still, water breaks remain important.

The heat coming from the blacktop also adds up.

“Because you’re out here in between the vehicles and you have to get all their information and things like that.”

They keep the inside of their wing of the building around 60 degrees, so they can cool off when they need a break.

The cooler temperatures of fall are approaching, which is a welcome change for those who are testing.

They may even have to get creative if they want to stay warm when the temperatures fall.

“Ski equipment I guess?” Reyna said on what he plans to wear when the cool weather comes.

But a break in the workload is not expected any time soon.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a decrease with school starting up and things,” Powell said. “I mean, we’re still seeing a lot of people that are positive now.”

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