Labs With No One to Run Them: Why Public Health Workers Are Fleeing the Field

Published by
Kaiser Health News

There were days, nights and weekends in the early months of the pandemic when Denise Von Bargen was the only person running covid tests at the public health lab in Ventura County. She once had eight or nine employees to assist her, but, one by one, they had all retired or left for other jobs. Like other public health laboratories in California charged with broad-scale disease testing and surveillance, the Ventura lab received federal and state money for new equipment and short-term hires to bolster its response to covid-19. But the funding was temporary, and Von Bargen, the director, could not…

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