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Friday, October 22, 2021

Healthy Davis Together experiences staffing shortage

UC Davis hiring student COVID-19 testers

As UC Davis students and the COVID-19 delta variant converge in Davis, the amount of staffing necessary at testing sites has rapidly increased, according to UC Davis Health Director of Business Development Tod Stoltz.

“The Delta surge hasn’t caught us by surprise but it certainly has been significant in creating a demand for testing,” Stoltz said. “We’re trying as hard as we can to meet that demand in light of this situation with our staff. We’re definitely in a hiring mode right now.”  

Stoltz explained that thousands of people are being tested every day.  

“We’re setting records for how many people have been tested every day: north of 7,000 a day when you combine Healthy Davis Together and the student operations,” Stoltz said. “At 7,000 a day, that’s half the population of Davis every week. Every other week, we are testing the whole population of Davis. Our goal is to test the whole population of Davis every week.”

UC Davis is joining in the hiring push. College of Biological Sciences Dean Mark Winey sent out an email to College of Biological Sciences students to promote the new position.  

“As I told the incoming students at the College of Biological Sciences Welcome this morning, there is a critical need for workers at the COVID testing kiosks. Part-time positions paying $17.82/hour are available now. This work will involve you [and] the health and well being of our campus community,” the email read.  

The student COVID-19 testers could work at the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center or at any Healthy Davis Together site, according to Stoltz.  

“At the end of the day, Healthy Davis Together and the ARC are one and the same.  The hiring that will happen could happen at either location, it just depends on the demand,” Stoltz said.

Stoltz explained that it took some work for Healthy Davis Together to be able to support student employees, who are mostly part-time workers.  

“The job is open to Davis residents, and recently, only very recently, it’s been opened to students,” Stoltz said. “The reason is, we try to keep the jobs open for people that could work full time, and only recently have we been able to position ourselves to work with people like students, who can only work part time.”

To accommodate the influx of testing, some Healthy Davis Together staffers have pivoted from their normal positions, Healthy Davis Together medical director Dr. Sheri Belafsky told the Davis Enterprise

“[When] Delta hit like a hammer, we had to pivot,” Belafsky said to the Davis Enterprise.  

Getting tested for COVID-19 is important, even when vaccinated. Stoltz said that about 30% of those who test positive for COVID-19 are vaccinated. 

“Roughly 30% of our positives are people who are fully vaccinated,” Stoltz said. “Now, we have to be careful, because that doesn’t mean 30% are break through cases, it means that 30% of the people who are testing positive are vaccinated. Around 80% of the total population in Davis is vaccinated. I can’t tell you the break through rate of vaccinated people, but what I can tell you is that about 30% of our positive cases are break through cases.”

Written by: Rachel Shey — city@theaggie.org

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