COVID-19 Detected in Ernie Davis Hall Wastewater

Ernie Davis Hall residents are under a temporary quarantine after COVID-19 was detected in the building's wastewater.
Thursday, Sep 03, 2020 at 5:44 pm by

Erin Lyons, SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Syracuse University has placed all students living at Ernie Davis Hall under a temporary quarantine, after the presence of COVID-19 was discovered in the residence hall’s sewer through the university’s wastewater surveillance program. In an email to Ernie Davis Hall’s residents, the Syracuse University Public Health Team told residents there is “a possible instance of a COVID-19 infection” among the students who live in the building.

Syracuse University said they are sending a COVID-19 testing team to the building in order to test all residents in Ernie Davis Hall. Those tests will be processed overnight and throughout the day tomorrow. If any COVID-19 cases are identified among the students or staff, the contact tracing process will begin.

The Public Health Team also told residents to return to their room “immediately” to start their quarantine. Officials started conducting room checks around 4:15 PM to ensure all students had returned to their dorm. Students are required to quarantine in place and are not allowed to go to other floors of the building. The university is arranging food services and other necessities for affected students, as well health service access and academic support.

Currently, COVID-19 was only found in the sewer connected to the Ernie Davis Hall residence building and not in the dining hall’s sewer.

In a campus-wide email, Vice Chancellor J. Michael Haynie announced Ernie Davis Hall will be closing temporarily. Haynie said that while the discovery of COVID-19 in the wastewater is “concerning”, especially so because of virus outbreaks at other universities, Syracuse University is still confident in their coronavirus monitoring, tracing and isolation strategies.

“We are working quickly to implement our response protocol to ensure any trace of COVID-19 is quickly contained to limit potential spread,” said Haynie.

According to the university, the presence of COVID-19 in campus wastewater was not a “surprising development.”

“Epidemiologists fully expected to detect the presence of the virus by this method during this semester,” said Haynie. “The wastewater surveillance program is part of the University’s comprehensive effort to expeditiously mobilize our response protocol allowing us to quickly detect, contain and mitigate COVID-19 among our community.”

CitrusTV News will continue to update this article with new information.