Student Health Center discusses the challenges faced due to COVID-19

As the semester comes to a close, the Student Health Center at Canisius discusses the challenges they have faced together this semester and how they have overcome them.

Staff of the Student Health Center Melissa Petire, Megan Maslanka and Lisa Rowley are dressed in personal protective equipment to ensure their safety, and the safety of those they encounter. (Student Health Center)

While on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, staff at Canisius’ Student Health Center have encountered unprecedented challenges, many of which they have learned to overcome as a team.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Director of Student Health Patricia Creahan said the department has been busier than originally expected this semester. Creahan said that from Aug. 31 to Nov. 17, they have provided medical care for a total of 1,972 students and have received 2,300 calls this semester.

“I think that is what we would all say was our biggest challenge was just the sheer demand for service, and the other is the changing guidance and recommendations from the Erie County Health Department and the New York state Department of Health,” Creahan said.

Some other challenges they have faced this semester have been getting in contact with students promptly so the health department can inform them if they have to quarantine.

“How did we tackle all of this? Well, I could say if you look around this little family here, these women are amazing, and they keep me going every day,” Creahan said.

When facing all of these challenges and unprecedented changes, they were able to overcome these challenges as a team, Creahan said.

As the Student Health Center looks towards the future, they hope to do a better job of communicating the data concerning the numbers of COVID-19 cases on campus. Creahan said she hopes that they will be able to take a closer look at these numbers with the help of the recovery task force.

Also, Creahan said she hopes they will be able to dispense vaccinations to the Canisius community at some point.

Recently, they were approved to administer the rapid antigen testing, so with the adequate resources they would like to implement a surveillance testing plan, which is still in development.

“I think it’s really important for us to recognize that this has been hard for the students as well, and I think that’s an important part of what we recognize too in the Health Center,” Dr. Sherri-Lynn Tucker said. “It’s difficult to put people into isolation and quarantine. I think it’s our goal to have everyone safely out and about as soon as we can. We know it’s difficult from a mental health point of view for students.”

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