As the end of the semester rapidly approaches, once again the number of COVID-19 cases is skyrocketing across the U.S., but the KU Health Center is working hard to keep students safe and healthy as flu season and the pandemic mix just before the weeks leading up to finals.
“This is a new virus, and as such, we are learning about it every day. It will be business as usual for flu season.” said Dolores Hess, Director of Health and Wellness Services.
“We have a rapid test for flu. Typically, if a student has the flu, we send them home to rest and get good nutrition. We will add COVID-19 testing to their plan of care as well, as the symptoms are similar,” Hess added.
The reports of a vaccine being close to completion by the end of the year or early in 2021 are promising, but distributing the vaccine at KU to students and faculty still appears murky at this point.
“The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is not known at this time. We will continue to monitor the development. From what I hear, EMS, medical staff and high risk will be the first to have access to the vaccine,” Hess said.
The number of cases at KU has dropped drastically compared to early in the semester. This is a testament to KU staff and students being more cautious, as well as reflecting worldwide trends.
“If you are following the trend nationwide, it is common to have a surge and then see a drop in cases. We had a surge for 2-3 weeks in fall semester. We have also seen this same trend with the flu. If it is in our area, we typically have a 2-3 week surge and then the numbers drop off,” Hess said.
The decrease in cases at KU is promising, but the battle isn’t over. Students and faculty need to continue adhering to CDC guidelines.
Hess insists the Health and Wellness Center will continue to monitor the trends between now and spring semester as well as reviewing any new recommendations from the CDC and the Pa. Department of Health. In the meantime, she and her staff encourage everyone to wear masks, wash their hands frequently and practice social distancing.
With the end of the pandemic still uncertain, protocol for the spring semester looks to be similar to the last two semesters, so it is important to continue following CDC guidelines and to report any symptoms to the KU Health Center.