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UCF Keeps Tabs On Coronavirus Through Testing And Surveillance

UCF building with logo on side
The Florida Channel
UCF is working with the state Department of Health in Orange County on contact tracing.

The University of Central Florida is working to slow the spread of the coronavirus through testing and surveillance. Cases are updated at the end of each week on the COVID-19 page.

Dr. Michael Deichen, associate vice president of UCF Student Health Services, says the university is working with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County on contact tracing.

“We created a memorandum of agreement with Orange County whereby 10 of our students are working with their epidemiologist to aid the contact tracing endeavor,” Deichen said. “What they’re doing is focusing on the ZIP code area surrounding our campuses, and when they do contact tracing, their helping to identify if they live with a UCF person or are a UCF person or they had a presence on our campus.”

A COVID-19 testing site is available at UCF in partnership with Aventus Biolabs in Garage A for the university community.

UCF is exploring new ways to track the virus, including taking a peek into the sewage system.

“We’re going to be targeting various areas and testing them to measure what the prevalence of virus is and identify positives. We’re exploring using sewage surveillance to see if there are certain locations on campus where there could be more COVID.” Deichen said.

Although the idea is still in the works, in the past sewage surveillance has been used successfully for early discovery of other diseases.

Next week, UCF will begin random testing to figure out how prevalent the virus is on campus, starting with 100 students in Greek life. The university is starting with these organizations since UCF has already had to quarantine residents from three of them.