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Jamie and Julia

Meet Jamie and Julia — two nurses helping to fight COVID-19

Providing care and comfort in an uncertain time

Jamie Yager and Julia James are on the front lines of the battle to subdue COVID-19.

The career nurses recently were stationed at Hillsborough County’s coronavirus mobile testing site outside Raymond James Stadium, where drive-through swabs were administered to pre-screened and pre-registered residents experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus.

The nurses and their colleagues introduced themselves to patients, briefly explained the procedure, and inserted swabs inside each person’s nose. The collected samples, when analyzed, will show who has the virus.

The nurses’ work is hot and tedious. Protective gear full gowns, surgical masks, plastic face-covering shields, gloves – are heavy and uncomfortable on work shifts lasting four or five hours.

Julia and Jamie volunteered for this duty. "It's an uplifting experience," says Julia, normally a charge nurse at BayCare’s surgery center in Carillon. “We’re doing our part. We’re serving people.”

She and Jamie, who promotes community health for BayCare in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, say their disagreeable circumstances are minor compared to the fear and anxiety of their patients.

Jamie tries to put patients at ease before the brief procedure, sometimes telling them to envision a big wave at the beach covering their face and pushing saltwater up their nose.

Almost everyone is grateful the nurses are there to help. “They’re concerned for themselves,” Julia says, “but they’re also concerned about our safety.”

The testing site is a collaboration among Hillsborough County, the City of Tampa, the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County, and four major medical groups in the region – BayCare, Tampa General Hospital, AdventHealth, and HCA Healthcare-West Florida Division.

People who receive the tests are pre-screened through the Hillsborough County Call Center and health care specialists.

Get Connected. Stay Alert.

For more information on COVID-19, and any other potential emergency in the county, visit HCFLGov.net/StaySafe and sign up for the HCFL Alert system. Additionally, you can follow Hillsborough County on social media at Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor for updates. For general County information, call (813) 272-5900, the County's main information line.

Photo: BayCare nurses Jamie Yager, left, and Julia James