Every week, Montana State University senior Virginia Beineke suits up in her personal protective gear and heads from Bozeman to Billings to work as coronavirus screener. And her job couldn’t be more vital as Montana begins to open up.
“Our job is to screen essential workers before and after their shifts for the coronavirus," said Beineke. “Anyone who is still having to go to work right now, we want to protect their workplaces. So we want to prevent anyone who might possibly be sick from going into the workplace and infecting their coworkers.”
They test for things like fevers, respiratory issues, loss of taste or smell as tell-tale signs before they administer an official COVID-19 test.
Along with being a student at MSU who graduates in December, Virginia is an incredible athlete. She qualified to run in the World Triathlon Grand Finals in Edmonton, Canada this August. On top of all that, she’s also a certified EMT. And she felt a responsibility to help on the front lines.
“It kind of did feel like I had an obligation just because I have a skill set that I could use and it could help out other people," Beineke said. "People need help right now. If the worlds were reversed, I’d love for someone to help me out so I’m going to do my part.”
As Montana begins to open up, Beineke knows this pandemic is far from over and offers some advice to Montanans going back to work.
“If you think you’re sick, just don’t even try it. It’s not worth the cases spiking again and us shutting down again. We’re trying to slowly reopen things and improve," she said. "If it doesn’t feel like you should be doing it, don’t be doing it.”