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A day alongside health care workers: Battling 35 °C weather and heavy workloads Updated: 2021-07-30 10:07:22 KST

With a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, frontline health care workers have to battle the scorching heat on top of heavy workloads.
The staff at testing centers have to wear full-body suits that are designed for protection against the virus, not for comfort.

"The three of us cover 7-hour shifts, so we each do around two hours or so."
"7 hours among the three of you ?"
"Yes, but the testing center in Samdeok park, there's only two medical staff for the whole day."
"And they cover 7 hours?"

At this center, healthcare workers burn through between 400 and 1-thousand tests a day.

"When it's cold, this suit lets in all the cold air, but when it's hot, the suit traps in all the warm air and the heat, and it gets really sweaty inside."

The heat coming off the asphalt roads nearby makes it feel even hotter.

"The thermometer shows 37.8 degrees Celsius and 47 percent humidity.
I've been in this suit nearly an hour now, and i'm completely drenched in sweat.
The ice pack I'm wearing underneath has nearly melted and it's not helping much.
I'm feeling a little light headed because of how hot and suffocating it is."

"When we can't take it anymore, we do take the suit off and go to the bathroom, but since the bathroom is kind of far and it's uncomfortable to wear the suit again,.. we try not to drink too often and have this suit on for four hours."

Even after just one hour, I was glad to take the suit off.
35 degrees Celsius had never felt cooler.
To help the workers out, the national police agency provided health workers in Anyang city, Gyeonggi-do province with a hydrogen bus to rest in.
The bus is parked right by the center with the air-conditioning running, so that workers can cool off from the heat.

"I haven't had time to sit and rest there properly yet but it really helps to know that we have a place like that, and I'm really grateful that they have provided us with such a place."

Other testing centers have also brought in buses to cool their workers, but until cases start to fall, they will have little time to rest.
Kim Yeon-seung, Arirang News
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