Utah State University quarantines students as COVID-19 found in wastewater

Workers test Utah State University students for COVID-19 on Aug. 30, 2020, in Hyde Park, Utah. Students from four dorms were tested and quarantined after the virus was detected in the wastewater from those buildings. | Photo by Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via The Associated Press, St. George News

LOGAN (AP) — Utah State University quarantined nearly 300 students for COVID-19 after wastewater samples from four dormitories showed elevated levels of the coronavirus, according to school officials.

The college said Sunday that 287 students would be tested who live in the Rich, Jones, Morgan and Davis dorms on the campus in Logan. There have been no reported positive tests for COVID-19 in those residence halls so far.

Students in those dorms must quarantine until the test results are available, which could take up to four days. They are also asked to fill out a form to ensure they receive academic support, food deliveries and other resources.

Classes were scheduled to begin on Monday for about 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Classes commenced Aug. 24 at Dixie State University, and Southern Utah University’s first day of full classes is Sept. 9.

Utah State is among the schools around the country using wastewater sampling to help safeguard against a COVID-19 outbreak.

Officials with the University of Arizona said Thursday the school used wastewater testing to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak on campus. A test of just over 300 people in one dorm with elevated levels of coronavirus in the wastewater turned up two cases, said university President Robert Robbins. Neither student had symptoms. They were isolated.

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