COVID-19 Detected in Wastewater of Ernie Davis Hall at Syracuse University


An email was sent out to Syracuse University students, faculty and staff earlier this afternoon, alerting the community to the presence of COVID-19 found in wastewater from a University residence hall.

The virus was discovered in the wastewater of Ernie Davis Hall, and as a result, the building is being closed, and students quarantined.

"This is not a surprising development as epidemiologists fully expected to detect the presence of the virus by this method during this semester. 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." - Said J. Michael Haynie, Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation.

The University has begun the process of testing everyone who lives and works in the building, and are reassuring the community that they are committed to protecting everyone.

"We recognize, given the news of outbreaks at other universities, this announcement is concerning. However, we are confident in the efficacy of our 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.

Read the full transcript of the email below.

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Families:

A short time ago, epidemiologists leading our wastewater surveillance program detected the presence of COVID-19 in the Ernie Davis Hall sewer. This is not a surprising development as epidemiologists fully expected to detect the presence of the virus by this method during this semester. 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.

While this detection does not definitively mean an individual in Ernie Davis Hall currently has COVID-19, out of an abundance of caution, we will be closing the building and temporarily quarantining all residents. The building has two sewers—one for the residence hall and the other for the dining hall. At this time, the presence of COVID-19 was only detected in the residence hall.

In addition to temporarily quarantining all residents, the University has begun testing all students and employees who live and work in the building, respectively. Testing will continue throughout the evening until all residents have been tested. We are communicating directly with the residents and employees about testing and quarantining logistics, including academic continuity, food services, access to health services, etc.

We recognize, given the news of outbreaks at other universities, this announcement is concerning. However, we are confident in the efficacy of our 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.

We will continue to update our community on these efforts. And please know, if any individual in the building does test positive, the contact tracing process will commence immediately.

Sincerely,

J. Michael Haynie

Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation


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