Campus, News

Student Health Services to continue in-person visits, increase COVID-19 testing

Although much of campus remains closed this semester, Long Beach State’s Student Health Services will continue to provide students with all routine medical services for the foreseeable future. 


These services include physicals, wellness examinations, screenings for sexually transmitted infections, reproductive health visits and sports medicine evaluations, according to Kimberly Fodran, medical director at Student Health Services. 


The health center is offering “telehealth evaluations” for all students Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and in-person visits from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. 


“We welcome all CSU students and can readily evaluate both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19-related medical concerns,” Fodran said. “Students will receive an initial telehealth evaluation followed by an in-person evaluation, if necessary.”


In accordance with public health guidelines, SHS has implemented new regulations and cleaning procedures, including daily disinfection of the clinic. The clinic also has separate visit times for well and sick students, as well as designated rooms with special air filters for individuals with “concerning symptoms,” Fodran said. 


All patients are required to complete a COVID-19 screening and temperature check prior to a face-to-face appointment.  


At this time, the student health center is providing patients with PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, COVID-19 testing, which is a molecular test that detects the virus’ genetic material. 


In addition to the PCR test, Fodran said SHS is looking to provide a rapid diagnostic test, or an antigen test, within the coming weeks that detects specific proteins on the surface of the virus. 


The current tests take up to a week for results to be finalized, while antigen results should only take up to an hour. Although antigen tests offer quicker results, they have a higher margin of error compared to molecular tests. 


Testing will most likely be conducted outdoors or in a student’s vehicle, Fodran said. If an outbreak occurs on campus, she said, the school will take direction from the city’s health department


“Throughout the pandemic, our campus has been working closely with our local public health officials [and] have established processes in place to address positive COVID cases affecting our campus community,” Fodran said. 


In the event that any on-campus resident has symptoms of the virus, that individual will be instructed to remain in their dorm room and contact the health center


If deemed necessary, health officials will coordinate with Housing and Residential Life to transition the student to an isolation space with a private bathroom in Hillside College and will regularly monitor the student, deliver meals and provide any desired resources. 


Fodran encourages any individuals who are feeling ill to contact Student Health Services as soon as possible and to get a flu shot to help health officials differentiate whether a student has the flu or coronavirus.


She said she expects “a challenging flu season” as the campus is “fighting both COVID and influenza at the same time,” and that there are plans for the flu vaccine to be readily available for the campus community. 


“In combination with practices such as handwashing, physical distancing and wearing face coverings, getting a flu shot can help prevent illness and reserve health care resources during the pandemic,” Fodran said. “In reuniting at the Beach, reporting illness and receiving testing will help minimize the spread of COVID-19 on our campus.”


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