COVID numbers down — are students still affected?


The number of COVID-19 cases on Kansas State’s campus is lower compared to Feb. 2022, LeAnn Sturdy, director of nursing at Lafene Health Center, said.

“Jan. 1 to Feb. 3, 2022, we had done 2,701 total COVID tests and 702 were positive,” Sturdy said. “Now from Jan. 1, 2023 to Feb. 3, 2023, we have done 245 total COVID tests and 27 of those were positive.”

Josie Morris, sophomore in secondary education, said she has seen a difference between COVID on campus in 2022 and 2023.

“I’ve had multiple professors get COVID this semester and have to cancel class,” Morris said. “I’ve never really had an issue of any friends getting it yet. I had more friends get it then rather than now.”

Sturdy said people who are exposed to COVID-19 no longer have to isolate themselves.

“That has been let go, you know, in an effort to give people a chance to kind of return to some sense of normalcy, but also being cautious of your symptoms and the idea of doing everything you can to protect others,” Sturdy said.

Abby King, communicable disease nurse at Lafene Health Center, said the current CDC guidelines for individuals exposed to COVID-19 are to wear a mask for ten days and monitor for symptoms. 

“If you start to develop symptoms, then they recommend that you get tested,” King said.

If an individual tests positive for COVID they should isolate themselves, Sturdy said.

“The current guidance, if positive for COVID, is isolation for five days,” Sturdy said. “Then at the end of that five days, if fever-free for the previous 24 hours, significant reduction in symptoms, you know, feeling significantly better, then you can return to normal activities, but you do need to mask for an additional five days when you’re around other people.”

Sturdy said students with COVID symptoms can get tested at Lafene Health Center.

“They should call and schedule an appointment with one of the providers and we can help facilitate that, you know, have them evaluated and do COVID testing,” Sturdy said.

Sturdy said Lafene is only testing individuals with symptoms.

“Maybe they’ve been exposed and they’re wanting to do testing, but they don’t have any symptoms and that’s just where the home testing comes into play,” Sturdy said.

King said home COVID tests can be found at several places in Manhattan.

“The health department has free COVID tests that they have in their lobby that you can pick up,” King said. “Walgreens has them. Local retailers have them if you want to purchase them.”

King said students sick with COVID or any other virus can treat symptoms with over-the-counter medication, and she encourages them to use Lafene to get personalized recommendations.

“If they’re not feeling well, they can always call and talk to one of our triage nurses,” King said. “They can talk through the patient’s symptoms, give them recommendations over the phone for medications, or … if their symptoms are severe, you know, an extreme situation where they need to go to the hospital … they give that recommendation to them.”

Sturdy said Lafene is still carrying vaccines for COVID-19.

“We have the monovalent and that would be for individuals who have not been vaccinated for COVID yet. And then we also are carrying the Moderna bivalent, so that would be for individuals who have had the primary series but are looking to get boosters,” Sturdy said.

Sturdy said there are several ways to schedule a vaccination appointment.

“They can just call Lafene to schedule an appointment in our immunization clinic or they can also look online through their portals,” Sturdy said.

King said there is an administration fee for COVID vaccines.

“Most insurance companies pay for the vaccine — that administration fee — so it’s at no cost to the students. If they don’t have insurance, than that’s a little bit of a different story,” Sturdy said.

King said it is recommended for students who are not vaccinated to get the primary series of a COVID vaccine.

“We have the Moderna. They also can go into the community and get Pfizer if they prefer. Both of those are a two dose primary series,” King said.

Lafene Health Center can be reached at 785-532-6544 or through the myLafene portal on the K-State website.