FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – As we head into flu season in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, health professionals are warning you to take respiratory illness symptoms seriously.
The University of Arkansas has turned it’s Garland parking garage into a clinic for its students, teachers and staff with respiratory illnesses like strep throat, the flu, and of course, COVID-19.
“We still have to kind of operate and make sure we can provide that health care to someone within the campus community whether it’s COVID-related or not,” said Zac Brown, Assistant Communications Director for Pat Walker Health Clinic.
Brown said staff are prepared to treat those battling the coronavirus or some other illness, but they’ll be seeing patients separately.
“Since we know this is a highly contagious virus, we obviously are trying to make every effort to make sure we can continue to provide that health care that’s non COVID-19 related to students without potentially getting them exposed,” he said.
In addition to the health center, a new respiratory clinic has been created within the Garland parking garage.
Dr. Carlos Acosta with the U of A said it’s here they’ll see people with symptoms of strep throat, the flu and COVID-19.
“People that maybe have an injury, rash or high blood pressure obviously you don’t want people with symptoms that could be COVID-19 around anybody else including our staff,” Dr. Acosta said. “We’re hopeful that all the guidelines in place will maybe decrease the number of flu cases this winter, but we’re planning for the worst.”
As coronavirus cases on the university’s campus decrease, Brown is worried it’s not because students aren’t testing positive, rather, they’ve stopped getting tested.
“Anytime we can increase and better make testing available for students we’re gonna absolutely chase that, lead down and find it and make it a reality,” Brown said.
Dr. Acosta also wants to encourage students and faculty to make an appointment and come get a COVID-19 test, even if they aren’t experiencing symptoms, just to be sure they’re protecting everyone around them.