An entrance to The University of Arizona located in Tucson, Arizona on March 16, 2014. The University of Arizona is a public research university founded in 1885.
Katherine Welles /

The University of Arizona believes it was able to avoid a COVID-19 outbreak in one of its dorm halls because of a sewage screening process it has been conducting.

University officials say that one of their tests for COVID-19 in wastewater came back positive last week. As a result, they were able to test the 311 people who live and work in the dorm, identify the two positive cases, and quarantine those individuals, reports The Washington Post. Everyone of the students had to pass a test for COVID-19 before they moved into the dorms. However, the screening involving the wastewater suggests the university was able to spot positive cases that came about after that initial testing.

Richard Carmona, former U.S. Surgeon General and director of the University of Arizona's reentry task force, says the two asymptomatic students identified in the screening could have spread the virus if that testing didn't take place.

Other researchers around the world have also embraced wastewater screening as a possible way to catch COVID-19 cases before they spread. In America, more than 170 wastewater facilities across 37 states are being tested. Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, China, The Netherlands and Singapore have also tested wastewater for COVID-19.

For more on The Washington Post's report, click here.