COVID-19 Detected in Wastewater from Columbia University


Residents of two Columbia University halls of residence should undergo immediate COVID-19 testing after the virus was detected in wastewater from buildings, according to a campus outlet.

Those who refuse to be tested are subject to removal from campus housing, authorities said in a note Monday.

“The presence of Covid-19 has been detected in Broadway Residence Hall and Wien Residence Hall sewage through the enhanced Columbia campus testing program,” school staff wrote on Monday.

More municipalities are testing wastewater to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 among specific populations.

Bergen County, which began testing wastewater in partnership with Columbia last year, reported elevated levels of coronavirus in wastewater on Tuesday, according to a report.

Columbia’s most recent coronavirus alarm was sent after two people tested positive for the virus at another dorm on campus last week.

“When a student chooses not to follow Columbia’s requirements, he jeopardizes both the welfare of the community and his own privilege of living on campus,” the note says. “Students who violate the Columbia Community Health Agreement and testing requirement will be referred to Dean’s Discipline, which may result in the loss of housing on campus.”

People line up for COVID-19 tests outside an urgent care center in Queens, NY.
People line up for COVID-19 tests outside an urgent care center in Queens, NY.
Lindsey Nicholson via Getty Images

Students must sign a “compact” outlining coronavirus-related practices on the Manhattan campus.

These include “participating in testing and contact tracing when necessary, and isolation and quarantine protocols, when necessary,” according to the document.

Two people previously tested positive for COVID-19 at another Columbia University dorm last week.
Two people previously tested positive for COVID-19 at another Columbia University dorm last week.
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