Columbia orders students to get tested after COVID detected in wastewater

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Residents of two Columbia University residence halls are being required to get immediate COVID-19 tests after the virus was detected in building sewage, according to a campus outlet.

Those who refuse to get screened are subject to ejection from campus housing, officials said in a Monday note.

“The presence of Covid-19 has been detected in the wastewater of both Broadway Residence Hall & Wien Residence Hall through Columbia’s enhanced campus testing program,” school staff wrote Monday.

More municipalities are testing sewage to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 among specific populations.

Bergen County, which began testing wastewater in partnership with Columbia last year, reported elevated coronavirus levels in sewage Tuesday, according to a report.

Columbia’s newest coronavirus alarm was sent out after two people tested positive for the virus in another campus residence hall last week.

“When a student chooses not to follow Columbia’s requirements, they jeopardize both the well-being of the community and their own privilege of living on campus,” the note states. “Students who violate the Columbia Community Health Compact and the testing requirement will be referred to Dean’s Discipline, which may result in the loss of campus housing.”

Students are required to sign off on a “compact” that outlines coronavirus-related practices at the Manhattan campus.

These include “participating in testing and contact tracing when required, and isolation and quarantine protocols, when required,” according to the document.

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