UK tests dorm wastewater for COVID-19, hopes to find places of infection

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 11:44 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - College campuses across the country are getting innovative in helping students navigate campuses in a COVID-19 world. The University of Kentucky is no exception.

Many of us know nasal swab tests can be used to see who has COVID-9, but there’s another way to find out... though feces.

At the University of Kentucky, scientists are testing the dorm’s wastewater for COVID-19. So far UK has tested the water of six dorms, one twice.

Here’s how it works. There is a sampler in a manhole outside the dorm. It periodically takes samples of the wastewater that comes out. Later these samples will be analyzed by experts, hopefully helping to figure out if there needs to be any response to cases at specific dorms.

“Identify points where we may have infection occurring, but more so it’s really complimentary as I mentioned before to the swab testing that we have to kind of focus our resources to where they are most needed,” says Director of Environmental Health and Safety David Hibbard.

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