No nights, weekends as weekdays, the staff of the provincial Center for Disease Control (CDC) these days are almost fully engaged in the workplace and in the epidemic outbreaks.
Staff of the provincial CDC taking specimens at an outbreak in Chi Linh City
The staff of all the departments and divisions are assigned for the tracing and controlling of the Covid-19.
From 27th January, when the first case appeared, all CDC staff were present at their office to perform the tasks. Different from the "battles" of the previous 2 outbreaks, though there were detailed response scenarios, the unbelievable surprise to the "white soldiers" this time was that the epidemic broke out very quickly and very seriously. From the first single case in Hung Dao commune (Chi Linh), the next day, the 28th of January, there were 82 cases recorded, equivalent to all the patients of 2020 (including inbound patients) and 226 cases by 8:00 am on 3rd February.
Speedy tracing, thorough zoning, fattest testing are the throughout directions of the CDC leaders. All the CDC staff have joined forces to support the activities of traceability, epidemiological investigation, zoning, taking specimens, sorting and testing. Nearly 1 week of implementation is the duration that CDC staff have worked very hard and rarely had any time off.
All the staff of the divisions and departments have been present at the workplace almost 24/24 hours. Many of them have to stay in the workplace for days to fight the epidemic, except for the baby breast-feeding staff. Mr. Nguyen Van Tuan- Master of Medicine, the Deputy Head of Laboratory- Radiology Dept. is the person who are continuously sticking to the workplace, without going home to perform the testing activities. Meeting with Mr. Tuan on 1st February morning, while talking to us, he together with 60 students from Hai Duong Medical Technical University, hurriedly transferred tools, equipment and the test kits to Chi Linh City to take specimens in the community. During the 6 days of the epidemic outbreak, Mr. Tuan was almost awake and was only able to take some naps. Looking tired with deep eye holes, longer beard and hair, Mr. Tuan said: “The previous outbreaks were very stressful but we were not under psychological and work pressure like this time. We have to race with the number of test specimens many times bigger and to have the results soonest. If not, the epidemic will spread more and more because the virus spreads too fast”. Not only busy with his expertise work, Mr. Tuan also directly participates in coordinating activities, arranging team members, dividing groups to take specimens from the outbreaks as well as accurately distributing the specimens to be tested.
A quick dinner at 10:00 pm of Mr. Tuan and his Colleagues
A female staff from the Laboratory- Radiology Dept. said: “Perhaps we will be exhausted as the medical force is thin, the work pressure is heavy, and perhaps the battle will be prolonged. There are times I’m stressed, seemingly collapsed and scared when looking at the list of cases where I have tens of positive cases in an outbreak, and maybe just a small mistake will lead to an infection for me”.
Not only the key departments like Laboratory- Radiology Dept., the Infectious Diseases- Parasitology- Insects Dept., are stretching to deal with the outbreaks, the staff of other departments of CDC are also equally strenuous. Mr. Luong Xuan Thu, Deputy Head of the Environmental Health- School Health Dept., who was dispatched to take specimens from the community, said: "The stamina of men like us is ultimate, if the epidemic is prolonged, most of the women in our unit will be unable to withstand it. Leaving the office early in the morning, coming back at about 9:00 pm and working with protective clothing, face masks, without being able to drink water, to rest for a while and to have a quick meal in order to to take specimens from people. Only a small mistake of not complying with the principles, health workers will face the danger of exposure to Covid-19 ".
Sharing difficulties with the key departments, many staff of the Communication, Administrative, Planning Depts. of CDC are the rear for the frontline "white soldiers" to focus on fighting the epidemic. The statistical recorders, the specimen distributors, the cooks must ensure enough energy and maintain health for their colleagues participating in the epidemic fighting. Many CDC staff leave their families behind, go to work from early morning until late at night, or stay at their workplace, to do their best for the noble task of speeding up the traceability of Covid-19 to bring safety for the people.