Corona Q&A with Nurse Kell

Fiona Murphy, Editor-in-Chief

March 13, 2020

How likely is cancellation of school?

Nurse Johnny Kell: It’s changing by the hour, there’s no percentage. If we look to Oregon, maybe that’s our answer. Our district had been planning for virtual learning for three weeks now. We put the plan together when we came back from the president’s break.

[The school has a safety team with representatives from all levels at the school. They are working on being as efficient as possible when it comes to sanitation and readiness.]

How long would a shutdown last?

Nurse Kell: Our Pandemic plan outlines preparing for 2-12 week intervals of online/distance learning because it depends on the severity of what we are seeing in the area. The safety plan I am working on calls for possible rolling shutdowns, but again these plans evolve as the situation unfolds. One of the indicators I have been told is being monitored is whether or not health officials see the overwhelming of local hospitals, in that case we would continue to shut down. 

Will we cancel senior prom? Safe and sober?

Nurse Kell: From 2 weeks ago when Humboldt State created a pandemic committee and activated emergency operations, I started speaking to the director of emergency operations. Yesterday the state said no more gatherings or more than 250. HSU said 150. If you’ve got preexisting conditions keep it to 10. That is going to guide for events moving forward. For things that are happening in early June late May, things are happening so quickly, I’m not sure about things that are happening that far out (as in Prom). So much is gonna change when we get the call from the governor. 

Do you have to pay for testing or treatment?

Nurse Kell: From what I understand, California signed legislation to make COVID-19 testing free for every californian. Treatment, from what I understand is being done on a case by case ability to pay. They aren’t not treating people who can’t pay, they’re just giving them a bill. 

Will AP tests get cancelled? Are SATs canceled?

Nurse Kell: At this point they are moving forward with the caveat that things are changing hourly. 

[It is important to note that the distances during AP and SAT tests follows the social distancing guidelines.]

When is the virus expected to die down?

Nurse Kell: So, we learn more and more about the behavior of the virus everyday. We learn more about transmission, and how to stop from getting it. The best case scenario, from what I hear from the experts, is that by April, 2021 we will have a better handle on it. There’s concern that we may have a little lull in the rise of cases during the summer months, but chances are we’ll get hit in the fall. 

When should I try to get tested?

Nurse Kell: [If you have a] cough, fever, shortness of breath, shortness of breath being the most alarming symptom. Persistent dry cough. And it’s either/or. Call your doctor’s office and it will most likely be a “stay where you are” until they get clearance to test you. If you do visit your doctor get the masks they have in the front, keep your hands very clean and maybe don’t touch anything. 

Does vaping affect your risk?

Nurse Kell: If they are sharing, sure. We know that nicotine is a stimulant, it stresses your immune system. There are a multitude of viruses including COVID-19 that transmit with mucus. It will stay on that vape for up to three days. Anybody who’s inhaling anything into their lungs is putting themselves at greater risk to fight off lung diseases. 

[Vaping damages the cilia in the lung which are a level of defense against disease.]

What can we do to get better not at hospital?

Nurse Kell: Rest, hydrate, eat, eat healthy foods, when we are under attack we need protein but we also need healthy fats and fruits and vegetables. Limit contact with people in your house that may be at a higher risk. Wear are simple masks. It doesn’t have to be the expensive ones. It can be a simple filter mask. 

[Use good ventilation to keep the virus from lingering in the air.] 

Do masks actually help?

Nurse Kell: They do, they help sick people. They help that person by not having them spread it. The bigger drops are caught by the masks. The bigger drops live longer. I think we are at the point where you could wear a low grade mask in public spaces. If you can’t control someone sneezing right on you, a mask could help.  The main problem with masks is that they are used incorrectly.

For directions on how to PROPERLY use a mask go to our instagram.

Why aren’t children affected as much?

Physics teacher Alyssa Kell: If you wanted to hear why kids aren’t getting sick when infected with the virus, here is what scientists are saying: Kids are continuously exposed to many other viruses in the coronavirus family. This may give them partial immunity. Kids have underdeveloped immune systems; it seems that an over-response of the immune system is what causes people to get very sick with COVID-19. Having an immature immune system means that children are unlikely to have this dangerous over-response to this virus. 

What can we as students do?

Nurse Kell: You can make sure that when you hear a rumor you check it with someone who can verify it. Check with a teacher who can check with an admin, check with the school nurse. Tamping down rumors is #1. 

[Kell emphasized to not let blame fall to one group, like people of asian descent or exchange students and to remind people that this is how communities take care of each other. Stigma is worse than corona, it lasts longer.] 

Anything else?

Nurse Kell: Right now being positive and not overreacting, but asking tough questions is the responsible thing to do. Our district is on the case.We are gonna be brave on how we proceed. Constructive feedback from you guys is key.