What’s it like to work at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site? Two Montreal nurses explain

Two Montreal nurses working at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic in Laval, Que. are asking people to follow the rules and stay home — or they warn the pandemic will be prolonged.

“We get the sense that not all people are taking it seriously,” said Melissa Gentile-Menard, a nurse working at the drive-thru clinic.

Gentile-Menard says that while people wait for results, they are mandated to self-isolate.

“But some people are flat out refusing to” the nurse said.

“People need to take all measures, including washing your hands frequently and coughing into your shoulder more seriously. It’s the only way we can make headway.”

Gentile-Menard works along with fellow friend and nurse Tara L.P.

Tara, who wants her last name to be kept private, wrote a post on a Facebook group where mother’s share experiences and concerns.

In her post, she painted a picture of what her 12-hour day working in the test clinic looked like.

“They leave and the next car rolls up. This goes on for 12 hours straight. There are no times where there are no cars in the line up.”

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The day wraps up at 8 p.m., at which point Tara says she drives home and showers immediately.

“I can’t even hug my baby when I get home,” she says.

She immediately starts the laundry for the clothes she wore during her shift on the hottest cycle possible.

“My feet are still frozen… and yet I will go out and do it all again tomorrow, to maybe make a bit of a difference,” she explained.

Tara says patients she sees are scared and some try to protect themselves by covering their face with bandanas or improvised masks made from paper towel and elastics.

“I had a mom who was crying, she was sick and was really worried about her baby,” the nurse said.

“We try to reassure them,” Tara explained, while adding health care workers are only allocated four minutes with each patient.

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