USU reports COVID-19 virus in wastewater from residence halls

Aug 30, 2020, 3:15 PM | Updated: 6:31 pm
(FILE: Utah State University)...
(FILE: Utah State University)
(FILE: Utah State University)

LOGAN, Utah — Students living in four residence halls on the campus of Utah State University are in quarantine after “elevated levels of the COVID-19 virus” turned up in wastewater samples, school officials said.

287 students live in Rich, Jones, Morgan, and Davis residence halls.  In a statement sent to KSL NewsRadio, USU said it asked the students to quarantine; they must remain quarantined until test results come back, anywhere between three and four days.

The students living in the affected residence halls will fill out what the University calls a COVID-19 questionnaire, which will help ensure that, while quarantined, they will receive academic accommodations, food, and other resources.

USU to implement COVID testing

Based on testing samples, the University says they have found no other elevated levels of the virus on campus. The school also says there are currently no reported positive cases of COVID-19 in the affected residence halls.

USU said, via a statement, that it is preparing to test all 287 students in the Rich, Jones, Morgan, and Davis residence halls between today and Monday. The school will receive assistance with testing from the Utah Department of Health and the Bear River Health Department.

The discovery is almost a blessing in disguise, some school officials say — allowing for the college to increase testing among students. 

“What it does is gives us a chance to identify areas where we might have cases,” said Amanda DeRito, USU director of crisis communications. “It’s basically an early warning system because we will find out there might be potential cases before people are likely to develop symptoms.  So on average it will tell us a few days before, once we start seeing elevated levels, before people would otherwise be reporting they have symptoms, and are ill.”

Wastewater testing provides an early alert warning for the university to address potential cases of COVID-19. It also provides an opportunity to prevent further spread of the virus. 

Utah State University was among three other Utah universities that joined with the state of Utah to test sewage samples in an effort to track the spread of COVID-19. 

In April, researchers began testing the wastewater entering 10 treatment plants along the Wasatch Front and northern Utah. 

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

UtahState Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

Today’s Top Stories

All News

On Saturday, two German soccer fans told CNN that they were asked by security officials at Qatar 20...
Ben Church, CNN

World Cup: Soccer fans stopped by security officials for wearing rainbow-colored items as LGBTQ+ rights issue won’t go away at Qatar 2022

The World Cup is well underway in Qatar, but issues surrounding LGBTQ+ rights for the Gulf state won't go away.
19 hours ago
Mountain Green Fire Protection District said neighbors reported a burning trash can next to a home ...
Waverly Golden

Trash can on fire at home in the Cottonwoods, safely extinguished

Mountain Green Fire Protection District said neighbors reported a burning trash can next to a home in the Cottonwoods on Nov. 25. 
19 hours ago
The U.S. Coast Guard ship Bernard C. Webber, leaves the coast guard base, Monday, July 19, 2021, in...
Associated Press

‘Miracle’: Missing cruise ship passenger found OK in water

The U.S. Coast Guard says a passenger who went overboard from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued on Thanksgiving after likely being in the water for hours.
19 hours ago
Image of the fatal crash in Draper on 11/25/22 (Photo courtesy of Utah DPS)...
Chandler Holt

Crash on I-15 in Draper leaves one dead

A Jeep and Toyota Tundra were involved in a crash late Friday night in Draper. The two vehicles were traveling in adjacent lanes on I-15 near 14100 South.
19 hours ago
Bodycam video released by authorities shows the good Samaritan trying to help the man on the tracks...
Tavleen Tarrant, CNN

Good Samaritan and NYPD officers rescue man from subway tracks moments before train arrives

A man was rescued from the New York subway tracks by good Samaritan and police just moments before a track arrived.
2 days ago
FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
USU reports COVID-19 virus in wastewater from residence halls