Wow, it’s been almost 8 months since my last blog post! Like many others, when Covid-19 hit, my life became a bit chaotic. From early in February, Steve expressed his concern over the mysterious virus that had swept through China, but I had brushed it off as just another “flu.” The only other person that seemed concerned about it was my boss. We had just started renovating our office so he had ordered a few boxes of N95 masks. He asked me if I thought we needed to order cases of it, in case the virus came to the United States. I laughed at him and said to stop being so dramatic. Boy, was I in for a surprise.
Before we go any further, in case you are wondering, Covid-19 stands for Coronavirus Disease 2019. I’ve seen it called a variety of different things, but we really don’t need to make it more complicated then it is.
Ok, so back to how totally wrong I was about the coronavirus. As we all know, it hit the United States and it hit us hard. And it was not the flu. The unknown was the scariest part. I obsessively washed my hands so much that they became raw. I didn’t leave my home to go anywhere except work. And even at work, I was afraid to be around people. At this point, we were being told that non-N95 masks would not protect us (Thanks, CDC!) so none of us were wearing masks yet.
It was sometime in March that we decided to start Covid-19 testing at my job. Although the thought of it terrified me, we needed to figure out a way to survive. We were seeing so few patients at the time that we had to cut back on hours. That quickly changed as soon as we begun testing.
In the beginning, we saw a few positive cases here and there. I was thinking, ok, this isn’t too bad. It was mostly people in the same household and they knew exactly how they got it. Many of them had very mild symptoms. And then I remember the week after Memorial Day weekend, I was in charge of posting results and I couldn’t believe how many positive results there were. Almost 20% of our results were positive. I sat at my computer and it felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. It was one of the scariest moments for me, realizing that Arizona was about to see a dramatic increase in cases. And we did. We became one of the nation’s hotspots.
So what began as a small operation of testing a few hundred people a week has become the largest community-based Covid-19 testing operation in all of Arizona. We went from having 10 employees to nearly 300 by the end of July. It’s been INSANE. We have 10 testing locations around the state and are opening more each week.
Although I pray every day that Covid-19 will disappear as fast as it appeared, I also thank God that I have had the opportunity to be a part of something that has helped so many people all over the state.
If you are in AZ, and want to get tested, visit Embry Women’s Health. Our turnaround time is currently 36-72hrs and our nasal swabs don’t need to touch your cranium 😉