Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) will test wastewater in residence halls and on-campus apartments twice weekly to detect infections before symptoms show.
“We’re looking for viral RNA, pieces of the virus that get shed off of people when they go to the bathroom,” said Jennifer Schneider, the Eugene H. Fram Chair of Applied Critical Thinking and a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering Technology, Environmental Management and Safety. “By testing wastewater, we can get an idea of what the relative viral prevalence could be in the population using areas of campus. If we see it increase in a particular area, we can look more closely and run some strategic testing.”
Members of RIT’s fall planning task forces say the wastewater surveillance will be a critical and proactive complement to more standard COVID-19 tests like the PCR tests involving nasal swabs. If health officials see spikes in coronavirus levels, they could take actions such as having the residents of the affected areas get further testing.Original Source