Wastewater testing at CSU finds high levels of COVID-19, 900 students told to self-quarantine

Waste water testing at CSU finds high levels of COVID-19, 900 students told to quarantine
Posted at 12:25 PM, Sep 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-26 14:25:06-04

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Nine-hundred students at Summit and Braiden Halls received an alarming email late Thursday night, telling them not to go to class and to self-quarantine in their rooms after Colorado State University officials detected "significantly high" levels of COVID-19 in wastewater.

"I was working on some late homework and got the email that said, 'Hey, by the way, you can’t go to classes,'" said Jacob Schmidley, a freshman living in Summit Hall.

Not only were those students told to not go to class Friday, they were told to stay in their dorms.

"I called my parents last night; I was a little bit worried," Ben Zaslavsky, a freshman living in Summit Hall told Denver7.

Colorado State University officials have been testing waste water around campus since the semester started to gauge the level of COVID-19 in each building.

Lori Lynn is in charge of COVID operations on campus. She says this week, both Braiden and Summit Halls' COVID-19 waste water levels climbed to an alarming rate.

"The Braiden Hall, we’ve had some positive cases, we’ve been identifying those individuals," Lynn said. "In Summit, we aren’t experiencing a lot of cases but the signal is pretty elevated."

As of September 24, the university has 304 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on campus. On Saturday, students at both residence halls will be tested and should get their results in two days.

Lynn said testing the waste water doesn’t give them an idea of how many students could be positive.

"We just don’t know, so the safe thing to do is to go ahead and quarantine and test the students tomorrow. Then will be able to respond and go ahead and do the contact tracing," Lynn explained to Denver7.

Lynn told us if students do not stay in their dorms, they could face a student conduct infraction but believes most will comply with the quarantine.