Utah State University school officials say they have found elevated amounts of Covid-19 in sewage samples collected from four residence halls on campus.
The university issued a safety alert on Sunday calling for mandatory testing and quarantine of all 287 students living in Rich, Jones, Morgan and Davis on-campus residence halls.
The mandatory quarantine is effective immediately and will continue until the test results are returned. USU has also activated a Covid Care Team to arrange for resources to assist the affected students, including meal deliveries.
Testing sewage samples provides an early alert warning for the campus to address potential cases and prevent the spread of the virus, said Amanda DeRito, a director with the university.
“Wastewater sample testing began July 1 and are collected daily. This testing isn’t new to Utah, it started shortly after the pandemic began and has been successful in monitoring the spread of the disease. The benefit of testing the water is that we get a snapshot into what is happening on campus and can quarantine even before a student becomes symptomatic. It is also less invasive,” DeRito said.
No other testing samples on campus taken this week show elevated levels of the virus and there are currently no reported positive tests for Covid-19 in the quarantined residence halls, according to a statement by the university.
USU is working along with the Bear River Health Department to send the quarantined students the test results.