Letter to the Editor: Coronavirus highlights need for on-campus clinic services

By Ingrid Jacobson ’21

On Friday, March 6, the same day that Minnesota received its first presumptive positive coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case, the Concordia community received an email from President Craft entitled “Concordia  College Preparedness for Coronavirus.” At the time ofthe email, the college wasnot yet aware of the positive MN case, but sent the message anyway to inform the community of Concordia College’s action plan.

The email stressed five points: Concordia’s emergency response team is monitoring the situation; the college is looking to public health offices to provide further guidance; students and faculty that have traveled recently to high-risk countries are required to call Concordia’s Health Service Office and quarantine themselves for 14 days upon return to the US; symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath; and everyone should be washing their hands, covering their cough, and staying home if ill. Concordia has also created a COVID-19 Preparedness Page, which as of March 10 only displays the email and links to the CDC and the MN Department of Health.

It’s unfortunate that this virus, which was recently named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), emerged so soon after Concordia shut down clinic services in 2018. Although a college clinic service would not have the capacity to test for COVID-19, the proximity of an on-campus clinic would provide both accessibility and peace-of mind to many concerned college students. In addition, trained healthcare professionals working at a Concordia clinic service would be better equipped to differentiate between seasonal influenza symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms, which are similar due to both diseases being caused by flu viruses.

I, for one, would support an increased tuition if it meant that clinic services would be returning to campus.

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