Virus that causes COVID-19 detected in wastewater at UNC Charlotte residence hall

Virus that causes COVID-19 detected in wastewater at UNC Charlotte residence hall
(Source: Chandler Morgan/WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-Cov-2, has been detected in wastewater at a UNC Charlotte residence hall.

University officials announced the detection Wednesday following routine sampling. All residents are required to remain in the building until they can be tested Wednesday. “During this time, all residents of the building are required to remain in place except to attend medical appointments. Meal service will be provided,” university leaders say.

“UNC Charlotte is not identifying the residence hall for the privacy of its students and staff, but all residents and staff of the hall have received information directly from Housing and Residence Life,” the university says.

Residents will remain under the directive until their test results are returned. Those testing positive or identified as a close contact of anyone who tests positive will be placed in quarantine/isolation in accordance with the University’s on-campus quarantine/isolation protocols.

Last week, three residence halls on UNC Charlotte’s campus underwent testing after wastewater testing detected the presence of SARS-CoV-2.

UNCC did not identify the three residence halls for the privacy of its students and staff.

All residents were required to remain in their buildings until they were tested for COVID-19 on Thursday, Nov. 5.

In an effort to further protect the campus community, officials say UNC Charlotte is using wastewater testing because studies have indicated it can identify the presence of SARS-CoV-2 days before symptoms appear.

In early October, officials at UNC Charlotte said no clusters were found after a separate incident where the SARS-CoV-2 virus was detected during routine residence hall wastewater sampling on Oct. 2.

In the Oct. 2 incident, the University completed 155 COVID-19 tests of students and staff in the impacted area and based on the tests, the positivity rate was less than 1 percent and no clusters were found.

Wastewater testing will continue at all on-campus residence halls to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Research shows it is likely the disease presents in wastewater several days before the onset of symptoms, assisting the University in preventing outbreaks of the virus.

Below is information from the university on what to do if you think you may have the virus:

Anyone in the UNC Charlotte community experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches or a cough, should immediately contact their medical provider or the Student Health Center and visit the Emergency Management website for additional information about updating the University on their COVID-19 status through the daily Niner Health Check.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.