COVID-19 Risk Level for Multnomah County: High Risk

Dispatches from the Front Lines: Christina Cotnam

Blog Post
Laboratory Analytical Specialist Christina Cotnam shares how her work has changed during Covid.

"We went down to reduced staffing in the water quality lab, with just enough people coming in that we got the most important daily tests done. The tests that we’re required to do, we made sure they got done. It’s just a lot quieter in the lab. It’s kind of eerie how quiet it is in when you’re in the buildings. In the lab, in the day-to-day, we keep pretty good social distancing but it’s more spread out now definitely. There definitely was a lot of camaraderie and teamwork, and us working out together, collaboratively, how our schedules will work.

"The more efficient and focused I am, the less time I have to be potentially exposed." 

Seeing who is trained in what work, which tests are essential, that we need to go get done. Seeing which tests we’re still able to get done that aren’t necessary under federal guidelines. We need to do our part for this piece of public health, providing clean water. You really have to focus on that task at hand, get our important analyses done, and just limit my exposure and time too.

The more efficient and focused I am, the less time I have to be potentially exposed and put myself at any risk too. It’s a team of people who are in there doing the microbiology work, the Cryptosporidium work. We’re doing all this to make sure our lab is able to stay accredited.

There’s a lot of daily tasks. I think most everyone in the country has some anxiety right now, and I think one of the biggest anxiety producers is not knowing when this will be over or if this is the new normal going on. There’s so much that we’re uncertain of. We know it’s coming, we just don’t know when. I think a lot of people are finding techniques to help with their anxiety levels."