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A sixth year medical student from Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU), who wishes to remain anonymous, applied to volunteer and is using her skills and knowledge to help test and diagnose patients with COVID-19. The student is volunteering at a mobile testing tent set up next to the Latvian Centre of Infectious Diseases and in the territory of the Biķernieki race track.

'I can see how much work the employees of the State Emergency Medical Services of Latvia currently have. They really need reinforcements. As a 6th-year medical student I can help collect patient information and fill out forms, as well as assist in collecting samples. I have always been interested in emergency medicine and as this situation could fall into that category, this is an opportunity for me to try my hand at it.

We were told during our first year of studies that prospective and current medical staff are all colleagues, and colleagues help each other get through hard times. Those who have underlying health conditions should definitely avoid volunteering, however. You should evaluate your capabilities before making a decision. 

This is the best way I can support both my colleagues and society as a whole – the sooner we act, the quicker we return to our normal lives.'

As reported by the emergency services, mobile testing tents have been set up so that patients who suspect they may have COVID-19 can avoid long waiting times for laboratory tests. The tents are manned by emergency service employees and prospective doctors from both RSU and the University of Latvia.

For the past few weeks, the doctors, emergency staff and specialists from the Central Laboratory have been collecting samples from around 300 people daily in the mobile testing tents.