Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2021
In the attempt to safely bring college students back to college campuses for fall 2020, a number of monitoring techniques were employed across the United States. One early warning surveillance technique employed by a number of colleges was the monitoring of dormitory wastewater for COVID-19. Wastewater is a monitoring medium that has been used for a number of studies ranging from illicit drug and antibiotic use to usage rates of artificial sweetener use. Wastewater may be a good source of early detection for COVID-19 due to the fact that infected individuals shed virus in feces up to 48 hours before the onset of symptoms. Each dormitory at UW Oshkosh has centralized wastewater collection and discharge to the sanitary sewers facilitating the sampling of individual dorms. This allows the identification of infections prior to the onset of symptoms in individuals living in each dormitory. Observation of elevated concentrations of COVID-19 found in a wastewater stream allows for targeted testing of dormitory residents to identify infected individuals before they cause a wider outbreak. In compact living environments, early detection, quarantine, and isolation is key to preventing larger outbreaks.