Julie Murphy

August 11, 2022

Julie Murphy grew up in San Francisco, studied psychology at UC Santa Barbara, and eventually moved to Marin County. She mostly worked in client service for companies that sold research, linen, tea and for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals before starting at Berkeley Lab in July 2021. At the Lab, she joined the COVID Information Hotline team, her first remote job. The COVID Information Hotline may be contacted at covidinfo@lbl.gov or (510) 486-5000.

How many inquiries have the COVID hotline received?

Since COVID began, we’ve had almost 4,500 inquiries. Some days we don’t get that many; others, we get a lot. It depends on what is going on with COVID. If it is a surge, we have a lot of people calling to register for testing at the Lab. With the latest surge, many people called to report infections or close contact with someone who tested positive. We take that information and send it on to Health Services. Calls to register for testing at the Lab; that’s a constant. We also get questions about protocol around travel, when they have to test, questions on meetings, and visitors coming to the Lab.

What are the challenges of staffing the COVID Information Hotline?

One of the challenges we have is contractors who are tested, but we don’t have their information, so we have to track them down. The contractors who are on site don’t have an employee number or Lab e-mail address.

Everything changes from week to week and month to month as far as mandates and requirements, especially around masks. Keeping on top of that and putting out an accurate, current message, including updating the website.

Outside the Lab, what do you like to do?

I love the outdoors, and I love hiking. In the Bay Area, there are many places to hike, including Sorich Park in San Anselmo and Fairfax. I am an amateur photographer and like photographing animals and landscapes. I like to travel when I can. I did a language program in Costa Rica about nine years ago, and I have been to Mexico many times. I am trying to perfect my Spanish.

I fostered my first dog from Hopalong Animal Rescue in Oakland. They get dogs from the Central Valley and bring them to the Bay Area and find homes for them. Hopalong doesn’t have its own shelter. They put out dogs to foster homes. I got a little guy, Kirby, a Chihuahua mix, who I fostered and ended up adopting.