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August 31, 2020

Around the nation: University of Arizona says feces helped prevent a coronavirus outbreak

Daily Briefing

    University of Arizona officials say the school avoided a coronavirus outbreak on campus by screening sewage from each of the university's dorm for traces of the pathogen, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Arizona, Georgia, and Indiana.

    • Arizona: University of Arizona officials on Thursday announced that the school avoided an outbreak of the novel coronavirus on campus last week by screening sewage from each of the university's dorm for traces of the virus. The officials said a wastewater sample taken from one of the university's dorms tested positive for traces of the coronavirus, and the university then swiftly tested the 311 students and employees who live and work in the facility for the pathogen. According to the officials, two students tested positive for the coronavirus but were not exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Those students were promptly quarantined, officials said (Peiser, Washington Post, 8/28).

    • Georgia: CDC on Thursday announced that 78 people in 12 states have contracted salmonella infections from contaminated peaches, and the agency therefore is expanding a recall of the fruit. CDC said the infections have been linked to peaches shipped by Prima Wawona or Wawona Packing Company between June 29 and Aug. 3. The agency said it expects more people will report salmonella poisonings in the coming days, because it "takes an average of two to four weeks" for a person to become and report illness from a salmonella infection (Erdman, CNN, 8/27).

    • Indiana: Indiana's Marion County last week announced it is starting a national search for a new CEO to lead Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County (HHC), which includes Eskenazi Hospital and the Marion County Health Department. The county made the announcement after Matthew Gutwein, HHC's current CEO, said he plans to resign on Sept. 30. According to WIBC, Gutwein announced his resignation about three weeks after an Indianapolis Star investigation uncovered an internal report by the American Senior Communities (ASC) that alleged almost 24 schemes involving 25 people defrauded HHC's nursing home system of at least $35 million during Gutwein's 18-year tenure. According to the Star, Gutwein had declined to sue ASC to recover some of the alleged losses and instead reached an agreement with ASC that kept many of the details of the schemes private (Berman, WIBC, 8/25; Evans et al., Indianapolis Star, 8/24).

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