HOMETOWN HERO: Nurse volunteers to work at COVID-19 testing site

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A Philadelphia nurse working in outpatient care knew she had to help others on the front lines when COVID-19 cases began to rise in the region.

Shaina Kowalick's life has become a constant cycle of changing gloves, bottles of hand sanitizer and trying to talk people through what's become anyone's nightmare: contracting COVID-19.

"A lot of them come very nervous and they've seen videos online that say the testing is very uncomfortable and it hurts. Some people are in tears when they arrive to us, so we just try to keep them calm," she said.

Kowalick is a nurse at the Jefferson Health site at the Navy Yard, and for the last four months, she's been working out of the testing site in the parking garage.

"We've been out here since March, so we've been through a lot of different weather, freezing, raining, storms that took out one of our tents, and most recently, the uncomfortable heat and humidity," said Kowalick.

"They come in every day willing to put themselves on the frontline while protecting themselves as well as the patients," said Amy Scutti, the site supervisor.

Before the pandemic, Kowalick was working in outpatient care, so her family didn't think she'd be dealing with coronavirus patients every day. But then she did something they now say they should have expected, she volunteered for the testing site.

"As nervous as we were for her working on the frontlines, I knew this was something that she would just do," said Jessica Kowalick, Shaina's sister.

Jessica says her sister will downplay her role in this pandemic, saying she's just doing her job. According to Jessica, however, Shaina is a hero.

"I just felt like I needed to do my part, so I wanted to volunteer and help out at the testing site so at least I could somehow help fight this pandemic," said Shaina.

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