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In this Together: fit-tester Amanda Neigum

In this Together: fit-tester Amanda Neigum
Amanda Neigum (left) and Yvonne Nelson working on fit-testing.

In This Together is a series dedicated to the stories of people contributing to our COVID-19 response.

Amanda Neigum knows full well we are in this together.

As a patient porter, Amanda and her colleagues at Kelowna General Hospital are responsible for helping with the transportation of patients, equipment, specimens and supplies throughout the facility.

But that was pre-pandemic for Amanda, who has also worked in medical imaging, equipment and central supply for personal protective equipment since joining Interior Health about two years ago.

When COVID-19 hit, Amanda was offered the opportunity to become a fit-tester, helping health-care professionals be properly fitted for N95 masks and other respirators.

And she jumped right in, performing some 2,000 fit-tests in the first 12 months of the pandemic.

“I have just really focused on getting as many people through the door that need to be fit-tested as possible,” says Amanda. “It is extremely important for those staff members that are using the respirators daily to be up-to-date on their fittings.”

Quantitative fit testing is the most accurate form of a fitting. It’s a data driven approach to determine the fit of a respirator on an individual’s face. Specialized equipment measures the amount of leakage around the seal. Amanda and her colleagues also explain how to put on, remove, and properly wear a respirator. This is critical to keeping health-care workers safe.

“At times it has been challenging and stressful but together we manage to pull through and do the best we can,” she says. “The support from the community has been very humbling and has helped to push us through the difficult times.”

“A lot has changed since COVID hit. We have had to follow new rules and guidelines. We have taken on new roles and have faced experiences we have never had to face before,” says Amanda.

As we have all experienced, things change fast when you are dealing with a pandemic. You have to be nimble and be able to adjust on the fly. It’s something that Amanda is prepared to keep on doing in an effort to keep people safe.

And sometimes, luck has a way of finding those who most deserve it. Last week, Amanda was the winner of the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation’s 50-50 lottery, which helps support its many important fundraising efforts.