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Faces of Tulsa's COVID response: Tou Yang, a food inspector running COVID logistics

Posted at 5:34 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 11:07:02-05

TULSA, Okla. — For the past three months, the Tulsa Health Department worked hard to get people vaccinated against COVID-19.

Many workers put in long hours, including one food inspector.

Tou Yang balances his daily restaurant duties while also helping out where he is needed at Tulsa’s vaccination and testing sites, on top of surviving COVID himself. Yang said it's been a crazy year.

“That’s what we signed up for in public health, to serve the community,” Yang said. “I’m taking care of the vaccine. Just making sure that the temperature and time is within the time frame, so we’re not having any bad vaccines.”

Yang looks forward to his turn at taking the shot. For now, he is focused on continuing his recovery from a September coronavirus infection.

“I was so sick that I had to go to the ER,” Yang said.

He lost 20 pounds in two weeks and “lost my sense of taste, I developed pneumonia. My oxygen level was at 85.”

After spending eight days in the ICU, Yang then spent a month and a half getting his strength back.

“It was scary. You’re thinking, ‘When is my last breath?’ or ‘When are they going to intubate me?’”

Now that he can finally breathe freely again, Yang is even more committed to vaccinating as many Tulsans as he can.

“Even though the numbers are going down, just be careful, still take care of yourself,” Yang said. “Wear the mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing because one little mistake and you can get sick.”

Three days of every week Yang spends working at Tulsa’s testing and vaccination sites. He says the most important thing he has learned this past year is the value of teamwork.

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