Student-led refund petition circulates amidst virus

Emily Harper

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the NMU Ada B. Vielmetti Health Center has remained open but is not allowing walk-ins for any services including pharmacy, lab and doctor visits.

The NMU Ada B. Vielmetti Health Center has been working with the Marquette County Health Department and a pandemic planning committee at the university to establish a procedure that would ensure the health and safety of the students, community and health providers. The Health Center has enforced a “no walk-ins” rule and is asking all patients to call ahead of time to be assessed or to make an appointment. The aim is to prevent grouping people into the clinic that are sick and could potentially spread the illness. A nurse triage has been organized in which trained nurses are able to answer questions patients may have and discuss potential treatment options, said Dr. Christopher Kirkpatrick. 

Anyone sick or suspect that they may have coronavirus should shelter in place if they have symptoms and avoid contact with others. They should get lots of fluids and use Tylenol to reduce fevers. If symptoms get worse the Health Center can assess and treat the patient over the phone or direct them to the appropriate medical center.

Like most viruses, coronavirus does not have a cure and the recommended treatment is supportive care which includes fever management and treating the symptoms. The Health Center has the necessary funding and personal protective equipment to keep providers and students healthy—but in the event of a severe case in which the patient has difficulty breathing, the patient would be transported to a hospital where providers have the necessary equipment, he said.

The Health Center has been in contact with the Health Department and has been working with people who could have been potentially exposed to coronavirus. People who have traveled over spring break were among the risk groups being examined. According to Kirkpatrick, the single confirmed positive coronavirus case in Marquette county has had no known associations with NMU, but precautions are still being taken, with pending test results for other cases. Preventative techniques recommended by Kirkpatrick include avoiding exposure to the virus by following the stay-at-home order and frequent hand washing.

“Our region is unique because we are not densely populated but one contact can spread like branches on a tree, that is why social distancing is so important,” Kirkpatrick said. “The social isolation is so incredibly helpful to stop the spread.” 

The Health Center can be reached for further questions or to make an appointment at 906-227-2355.