Elevated COVID-19 samples found in USU dorm wastewater

LOGAN – When a new wastewater monitoring system at Utah State University identified elevated amounts of COVID-19 in four campus dormitories it led to the quarantine Sunday of all 287 students in those dorms.

Amanda DeRito, USU Director of Crisis Communications, said almost half of the those students were tested at Intermountain Healthcare facilities in Cache Valley Sunday and the remainder will go for tests Monday.

“Then they were also told to fill out the USU COVID questionnaire,” DeRito explained. “And what that does is activate our Care Team to reach out to them and find out what they need in terms of academic accommodations and resources.

We’re organizing food deliveries for on-campus students, accounting for dietary restrictions and so forth, so we can support these students while they are asked to quarantine.”

A campus wide alert was sent out regarding the situation on Sunday afternoon. All of this happens as Monday is the first day of classes at USU.

“We did expect cases. What’s good here is we were able to get an early warning,” she added. “A lot of times we won’t know if there are positive cases until someone develops symptoms and then goes to get tested.

“So, with this we are able to actually see elevated levels in wastewater — even a few days before people start to develop symptoms. So it does give us a head start.”

All residents of Rich, Morgan, Jones and Davis Halls must quarantine until test results are returned, which may take up to 3-4 days. They must stay in their rooms, not attend classes and or interact with those outside their household.

DeRito said USU is one of five universities across the country with this monitoring system in place. Recently, the University of Arizona used the same wastewater sampling system to stop what could have been a large outbreak on the campus in Tucson.

She said USU is fortunate to have Professor of Biological Engineering Keith Roper leading a study which began July 1 to monitor COVID-19 infection trends at USU by analyzing sewage samples taken from on-campus student housing facilities.

USU has its own contact tracing team which has been training throughout the summer and is now ready to get started as information is made available to reach out and identify others who may have to quarantine.

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21 Comments

  • Prince Albert August 31, 2020 at 8:25 am Reply

    Amanda DeRito, USU Director of Crisis Communications, said almost half of the those students were tested at Intermountain Healthcare facilities in Cache Valley Sunday and the remainder will go for tests Monday. If these students are quarantined, why they hell are they going out and getting tested at the facilities? Is this because they are no danger to the public, because Covid, like the sewage samples, is a bunch of sh!t?

    • skeetr August 31, 2020 at 2:48 pm Reply

      not that you’d know your head from your ass, but there are ways to have tests administered without directly spreading the disease. Yea, if you really knew anything besides your russian propaganda, then you’d know there is a drive-thru testing where a technician is wearing the best PPE. nice pun though, cpt denial.

      if you really believe your bullshit go snag some covid yourself mr dick piercing

  • Gina Obray August 31, 2020 at 1:11 pm Reply

    Why weren’t all the students tested before they even got to USU?? Kind of stupid………

    • skeetr August 31, 2020 at 2:49 pm Reply

      because we’re on round 12 of “is this thing still contagious?”, apparently. stupidity abounds.

  • Get Informed August 31, 2020 at 11:28 pm Reply

    USU is/was involved in research related to testing waste water for covid. Undoubtedly, this is an attempt to showcase their research and obtain more funding. Sadly, this occurred at the expense of those poor freshmen. This is dishonest and sad conduct from a few people in positions of authority at USU.

    • I am informed September 2, 2020 at 2:56 pm Reply

      Huh? Kind of like Trumps argument that more testing means more cases. I bet Mr. Malthus is dancing a jig somewhere about now.

      • E. Kant September 3, 2020 at 2:37 pm Reply

        I am pretty sure that USU is concerned more about their students and staff than keeping you informed. Why don’t you call them and ask.

  • truthseeker September 3, 2020 at 9:21 am Reply

    It is Thursday and the test results should be back by now. Why haven’t they made the news? If the suspicions were correct, the ‘outbreak’ would be all over the news. If there were few positive cases, the overreaction will be swept under the rug. Which is it USU? Could you have worked everyone up over a non-story? Over a panicked assumption?

  • Deedee September 4, 2020 at 7:44 am Reply

    CDC says 90% of tests are false positives. If you had a flu shot in the past 5 years you will show positive. The testing is really just to make the scared populous feel better and to keep them scared. Keep taking your vitamins and get fresh air. It will do you much more good than wearing a mask and fretting the great outdoors.

    • Job September 4, 2020 at 11:14 am Reply

      I call BS, cite your CDC reference. Infowars is not a credible source. I read somewhere that man once walked with the dinosaurs and the fossil record is just fake news.

      • Free Bird September 4, 2020 at 4:06 pm Reply

        What do you call a credible news source? MSNBC, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS or all the other liberal associates?

        • Job September 4, 2020 at 11:01 pm Reply

          How about the cdc report? That would be a credible source.

          • Free Bird September 5, 2020 at 1:37 pm

            That would be credible source of what they reported. It would also be nice to have some auditors and investigative journalists ( Al & Will call them conspiracy theorists) check the facts to see if they are indeed accurate.

          • Job September 8, 2020 at 3:54 pm

            The problem with that is everyone in the press has their own ax to grind. For example, the Russia investigation, the bozo’s on the right and the left misrepresented the facts. Now I strongly encourage you, free bird if you think that this is a hoax. Go out and try to come down with Covid 19. You could end up like Rand Paul or Herman Cain. Then you can come back and give us your investigative report.
            If you live that is, if not at least you know it is not a hoax.

    • Jub September 10, 2020 at 7:59 am Reply

      DeeDee can you elaborate on how getting the flu shot will result in a false positive Covid test?

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