Sewage and spit are two new ways MSU is now testing for COVID-19

Coronavirus

East Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) With a surge of students at Michigan State University testing positive for COVID-19 the University is efforting to programs to help mitigate the spread.

On Thursday, MSU began taking samples from its Spartan spit kits. It’s a part of the University’s COVID-19 early detection program. The volunteer-driven initiative allows students, faculty and staff to sign up to receive a free DIY testing kit.

Usually people test for COVID-19 after they show symptoms, but not with the Spartan spit kit.

“If they feel ill we tell them not to give us a sample, our goal is to look for asymptomatic spread…we have found some positive cases which is great because that means those are people who would have gone undetected normally,” says Dr. Lipton who runs the program at MSU.

A second method to test for COVID-19 is through sewage. Dr. Joan Rose is leading the effort currently at MSU and says they have been testing sewage samples on MSU’s campus since April. The waste water surveillance program also has access to Meredian Township and East Lansing. Dr.Rose says samples were pretty steady until they noticed a large spike in June.

“To our surprise….we looked it coincided with the Harper’s bar outbreak.”

Dr. Rose says waste water surveillance is so important because it can detect someone is positive before a standard COVID-19 test and identify an area that should quarantine.

Other believe, MSU is under utilizing the resources that are available to them. Sarah Reckhow is an associate professor at the University who started a petition demanding MSU test all local students.

“MSU has people who are experts who have developed these methods and were not deploying them in ways that can ensure the public health of our community is not exacerbated.

For more information on the Spartan spit kit click here.

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