Navigating cold and flu season during a global pandemic by Maci Weeks

In late October, Trevecca's cross country team experienced their first set of positive cases. Jess Bishop, sophomore, was sent to quarantine after being contact traced through a teammate. She quickly felt she was experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
"When [my teammate] came back positive I thought I for sure had COVID because we hang out all the time. And the day we all found out we had cases on the team was the morning I woke up with a sore throat," Bishop said.
Bishop assumed the worst and began to panic. Her suitemate, Kathryn Duncklee, began to realize she could be contact traced should Bishop test positive. "When my suite mates were sent into quarantine, I definitely thought there was a good chance I would be too. I started making arrangements to fly home to New Hampshire," Duncklee said.

Bishop went to the clinic for a COVID-19 test that day, and results came back negative. She says she likely just had a chest cold.

This story is not uncommon for Trevecca students this year. Students get sick, and jump to the conclusion that they have COVID-19. It is important to remember that symptoms of COVID-19 do not automatically equate to a positive COVID-19 test. NBC news reports that, on any year, it is more likely than not that a freshman will get sick within their first semester of college, and the CDC reports November, December, January, and February is when cold and flu spread peaks across the United States.

Students should answer the daily health screening honestly. If a student answers "yes" to a question on the survey, it is not an automatic quarantine sentence. A "yes" prompts an email response from the clinic, in which the student will be asked to come to the clinic for an exam. Once evaluated by one of the health professionals in the clinic, the student may be asked to complete a COVID-19 nasal swab test.
Do not panic if you start experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, but do notify the clinic.

According to Dr. Sara Hopkins, one of the counselors in Trevecca's Counseling Center, the fear people are feeling when they get sick is common.

"The unknown is hard on us all and I think this is effecting us across multiple plains. It’s SO normal to feel anxious when you start to develop physical symptoms, you aren’t alone in that," Hopkins says.

If you begin to feel ill, and panic sets in, Hopkins suggests the following tactics:

  • Start with taking a few deep breaths, telling yourself the truth: ‘This is a season in which a lot of people get sick. I can do what I can to keep myself well and others well.'
  • Reach out to our clinic for clarification and next steps.
  • When waiting for test results, reach out to your community and those who offer you support.
  • Do what feels good for you while you wait, whatever that is. Maybe this is a great time to distract with a good book, a Netflix series, or catch up on some work you need to do.
  • Remember that you will have answers soon, the waiting is temporary. Results usually are back within 24 hours.