Spinnaker exclusive tour of UNF’s COVID-19 testing clinic

Carter Mudgett, Editor in Chief

COVID-19 cases across the UNF campus are close to breaking 50 each week. In light of this data, Spinnaker was given an exclusive tour of UNF’s COVID-19 testing clinic Friday. Dr. Valerie Morrison, Director of Student Health Services, helped give some insight into the process that UNF undertakes to track COVID-19 cases on campus. 

Located in Lot 17, the facility is operating every Monday through Friday from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. A visualization of the facility’s location is shown below, identifiable by the blue circle. 

Location of Lot 17. Courtesy of UNF’s Emergency Management website.

Responsible for keeping track of and identifying positive cases of COVID-19 at UNF, Dr. Morrison and her team are hard at work under the hot sun. During an interview with Spinnaker, the director said that the facility sees approximately 50 people every day. 

The team administers rapid antigen tests and longer PCR tests. Rapid antigen tests take about 15 minutes to give results and PCR tests can take anywhere from 24 hours to 72 hours. 

Anyone with symptoms is given a rapid antigen test and, if it comes back positive, will be given instructions to isolate themselves. Should the test come back negative, Morrison and her staff will give a PCR test to confirm the results. 

COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test. Photo by Carter Mudgett.

Until the results come back, they will instruct the person to remain at home if sick, or until the test returns. Now, any student that tests positive will be given an excuse note for their 10-day isolation period with isolation instructions that adhere to CDC guidelines. 

Of course, Dr. Morrison’s job is not to just test whatever students, faculty, and administrators bring themselves to the testing site. She and her team also take care of contact tracing each person that tests positive. 

Contact tracing is “performed on any person who has a lab-confirmed COVID-19 positive lab result,” said Dr. Morrison. This tracing would help identify any person that spent a total of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period from the identified positive case and was within six feet without a mask. 

However, Dr. Morrison expressed frustration at how their contact tracing relies heavily on whatever information they are provided with, and sometimes it’s not nearly enough. 

COVID-19 testing clinic materials. Photo by Carter Mudgett.

My staff works hard to explain why we ask the questions we ask, but ultimately we cannot read minds, nor force information from the people we speak with,” Dr. Morrison said. While her staff isn’t telekinetic, they do often receive anonymous reports of people who have tested positive or who are sick in their dorm. 

From here, the team will reach out to the identified person and determine whether or not it is valid. 

Dr. Morrison echoes the recommendation from UNF for mask-wearing and vaccinations. 

We are taught many things while at UNF, and I hope ethical decision-making and character is part of what is learned,” Dr. Morrison closed. 

Later in Sep. 2021, UNF is partnering with Walgreens for a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. Learn more here

More information about the testing clinic is available here


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