Lab Matters Fall 2020 - Page 11

FEATURE it ’ s easy to just continue what you ’ re doing ,” Toney said . “ We have brought in automation that will allow us to continue to do COVID testing in a very high throughput , efficient manner now , and later apply it to testing for other infectious diseases .” She also expects to see more virtual meetings , briefer communications and perhaps even remote workers after the pandemic eases .
Pentella hopes that laboratories will maintain the local and regional networks they have built during the COVID-19 response . “ The duration and scope of the pandemic have exposed the ongoing shortcomings in public health laboratories ’ reliance on contract laboratories to provide testing capacity in a surge . Regionalization could provide scalable capacity that would improve both responsiveness and efficiency .”
But for laboratory directors , some of the most lasting lessons from the pandemic may be the ability to embrace the unknown . “ We ’ re asked to do things that we ’ ve never been asked to do before . And we ’ re asked to do it faster with less ,” Severson said . Planning is critical , of course , but it is imperative to recognize the limits of planning . “ When something as huge as this coronavirus comes , we don ’ t have the resources to plan for that ,” Kunas said . “ But as a leader in public health , you need to recognize those limits and what you can do within the boundaries of your resources . Just take it day by day .”
For Toney , one of the strongest lessons from the pandemic is to remember the power of gratitude . “ COVID has created a situation where we ’ re more mindful of those around us . We ’ re all tired and we ’ re all stressed ,” she said . “ Sometimes just a simple ‘ thank you ’ goes a long way .” n
Fairfax County gets some pet therapy from Ollie , Deborah Severson ’ s puppy . Photo : Fairfax County PHL
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Fall 2020 LAB MATTERS 9