Austin COVID test behind the scenes


Ashanti Pellham said that while this current wave can be overwhelming, it is gratifying to be able to help other people during the pandemic.

AUSTIN, Texas – COVID-19 testing sites in central Texas continue to see an influx of people, which means people working at these sites have a lot to do.

It takes a lot of people to operate a mass drive-thru test site, like the swabs and traffic checkers you can see from your car window. But there are some people you don’t see who are helping to make this all happen.

Ashanti Pelham manages the swabs at the Austin Public Health test site at the Travis County Expo Center.

We had 120 an hour so by the end of the day we should have a thousand again, ”Pelham said of the number of people coming in for testing.

Pelham keeps track of all PPE to ensure the safety of those tested.

We have a basic glove, we disinfect in between, we put on a top glove, ”Pelham explained of some of the protective measures they take.

Of course, she is also concerned that her own staff may be infected.

I watch them all the time, ”Pelham said. “Sometimes I have to get up and, you know, stop what I’m doing here and say, ‘Hey, make sure they open that window. “”

Although she works with a lot of data, she said these tests are more than just numbers, it’s real people who are impacted.

We have so many faces here, but some stand out more than others, especially with babies, ”Pelham said. “You know, you see these little faces and they cry and everything. So yes, I think of them.

Pelham said that in order for us to get through this pandemic, we should all be thinking of each other.

You have to mask yourself, you have to disinfect, you have to wash your hands, ”Pelham said. “You need to be mindful of your neighbor and do these things so you don’t miss out. Whether you are vaccinated or not, you can still skip it. “

The APH-operated Travis County Expo Center test site is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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