Beijing centers rush to recruit staff to take samples, clear backlog

By Zhang Han Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/18 20:33:41

Medical workers collect throat swabs from construction workers at a construction site in Dongcheng District of Beijing, capital of China, June 17, 2020. From June 15 to 17, a total of 1,042 workers of China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Co., Ltd (Beijing) received nucleic acid tests for COVID-19. Photo: Xinhua

Amid surging demand for COVID-19 nucleic acid tests in Beijing, test centers in the capital are recruiting sample takers and biolab personnel to get more tests done more quickly.

Beijing, with its latest outbreak hitting 158 infections as of Thursday, is carrying out large-scale testing on people who have connections with the Xinfadi Market and other key groups.

In addition, there are about 20 million Beijing residents, and they all must have a negative test to leave the city.

A total of  98 hospitals, disease control organs and third-party institutions can collect 400,000 samples a day, a city official said on Wednesday at a press conference. There is also a backlog of samples waiting to be analyzed.

The Global Times found that some testing centers and biological companies are recruiting full-time and part-time employees. 

An employee from Pony Testing International Group told the Global Times on Thursday that the company is recruiting full-time and part-time staff, as well as interns, as swab sample collectors. The pay is 700 yuan ($99) per 8-hour workday plus overtime pay. 

Holding a nurse certificate is an advantage, but not a requirement, and sample takers will have full-protective gear, including one-piece protective outfits, masks, goggles and gloves provided by the company, according to the employee. 

"Most clients of our testing centers are nearby companies, and our sample takers go to designated places," the employee said.

The Global Times found the nearest available test appointment at Pony is June 29. On some other testing centers' WeChat apps, they had no time slot available until July. 

Beijing health authorities said on Wednesday that the city had conducted nucleic acid tests on 356,000 people since Saturday. 

Beijing-based MyGenostics Inc is recruiting five to 10 lab staff to process these samples. Although staff are urgently needed, the company requires certificates and experience in polymerase chain reaction experiments to guarantee the quality of the testing, an HR specialist surnamed Zheng at the company told the Global Times. 

Results are usually available within 24 hours, but the Global Times learned from some test providers that it can now take 36 hours or longer due to the heavy workload. 

Beijing is rounding up key groups for testing, such as medical workers, those who live around residential compounds where confirmed infected people reside, and teachers and students who have already returned to school, according to city authorities on Wednesday.


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