By Dalila Bevab and Layla Colakovic
Thanksgiving break is around the corner, but COVID-19 is threatening the prospects of large family get-togethers because the number of positive cases are on the rise in the country. But one way the Bellarmine community can give their families peace of mind before going back home is by getting tested for COVID.
Director of Health Services Alice Kimble said the testing process is quick and easy. She was tested in Frazier Hall and said she waited for 10 minutes but the process itself took less than one minute.
“It’s always, so far, gone very, very smoothly and it’s timely. It’s nothing that’s going to take a lot of time out of your day,” she said. Health services staff administering the tests are there to ensure there’s no long wait.
Junior baseball player Robert Sproul, who’s majoring in communication and political science, said he’s been tested twice because a percentage of the team has been tested every two weeks.
“My COVID test was pretty normal. It just felt like I had to sneeze afterward…I would say you have nothing to worry about,” he said. “Just relax and the test will be over in five seconds.”
Senior basketball player Pedro Bradshaw has been tested several times and said although it’s not ideal, his experience was pleasant. He said it’s gotten easier each time because every time he’s been tested, “It’s been women [administering the test] who are really gentle, sweet, talking to me and rubbing on my shoulder.”
He said it didn’t hurt for him, but a few people he knows who’ve been tested said the swab hurt their nose and made them sniffle. The men’s basketball team is being tested three times a week and he said he’s gotten used to it by now.
Bradshaw said his advice for those who are scared to get tested is to, “Close your eyes and try not to think about it too much.”
According to an email sent out by Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Helen-Grace Ryan, COVID testing will be in Frazier Hall on Nov. 16 from 8 a.m. to noon and Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students can register using this link or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kimble said Bellarmine is paying for the tests. Those administering the test will ask for insurance information, but students don’t have to provide it. “We are paying for it and Bellarmine has taken on a big expense and will continue to do so because the health and safety of everybody is at the top,” she said.
Kimble also said there’s the option for people to drive up to Frazier and test administrators will come out and conveniently conduct the test in the Alumni Way parking lot. If students are in quarantine, administrators can come to their residence hall rooms.
There are some self-administration kits at the clinic but those are reserved for students who are symptomatic and don’t have another option, she said. In this case, health services will deliver the kits to their rooms and set up e-care visits with a nurse practitioner who will walk students through the collection process.
Each week, the university invites people to get tested, and although it’s not mandatory, anyone can opt to get tested. But Kimble said many of the people who are invited don’t come to get tested.
Kimble also said she urges students to provide feedback on what to do to help make the testing process better.
“For instance, let’s say if they just wanted it to be done privately, I bet we could find a way to do that,” Kimble said. “We could set up some curtains or something and have a little place to take them somewhere, but we could do that.”
“The thing is, if people aren’t telling us why they’re not wanting to test, we can’t address those issues.”
Students can call Health Services at 502-272-8313 and leave an anonymous message or send an email to email@example.com listing concerns and feedback.
The more people who get tested, the more comfortable faculty, staff and students with preexisting conditions will feel, Kimble said. “We really want people to feel comfortable coming to school here,” she said.