Researchers detected SARS-CoV-2, a virus causing COVID-19 in water on four Lake Superior beaches in Duluth earlier this month.
A “detectable level” of virus in water samples on the area’s beaches over the weekend of 11 and September 18 at several beaches, including 13th Street Beach / Franklin Park, Leaf Erickson Park, 42nd Avenue Beach and Brighton Beach Was found University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus, which is conducting regular testing of lake water on eight area beaches.
The medical school said that the results were 100 to 1,000 copies per liter of virus levels, 10,000 times lower than levels found in wastewater. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “is not aware of any scientific reports indicating that the virus may spread to people from exposure to lake water,” the medical school said.
“At this time, the source or sources of the virus are unknown. Because of that, Minnesota will extend support to the C. Grant Medical School to continue monitoring eight Duluth beaches,” the medical school said in a statement to the News Tribune. “They will also work with the Minnesota Department of Health to get more information on lake streams experts and potential sources.”
The medical school urged beaches to wear masks and continue social distance.
As the News Tribune reported last month, researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Duluth campus are regularly testing water on beaches for the virus on weekends. Since the virus is shed in a person’s feces, it is likely to be blocked from the body of a swimmer.
Researchers – assistant professors Richard Melvin and Glenn Simmons Jr. – are also looking at studying the presence of the virus in raw sewage across Minnesota, with the determination of how many people in a community get the disease based on the amount of virus in a sample Might be possible.
Waste research has given them early signs of outbreaks and reflects an increasing level of cases throughout the state.
Samples are also being taken to drop the doormats at the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses of the University of Minnesota.