Coronavirus Detected In Beach Waters

University of Minnesota researcher describes the find as "mysterious" and stresses there's no evidence the water can lead to infections. KARE's Jennifer Austin reports.

DULUTH, Minn. (NBC News) — For much of the summer, Dr. Richard Melvin has been trying to answer a question: Can SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, be detected in beach water?

He found his answer on the weekend of September 11: Yes. Now, he has many more questions to answer.

“It’s just kind of mysterious,” says Dr. Melvin, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the U of M Medical School’s Duluth campus.

It’s mysterious, as Melvin says because, since the Fourth of July, he’s been taking samples every weekend from eight beaches along Lake Superior and testing them with his team for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.


Then, after sampling the weekend of September 11, he found trace amounts of the virus in water along four Duluth beaches: Brighton Beach, the 42nd Avenue beach, the beach near Leif Erickson park, and the beach on Park Point near the Franklin Tot Lot.

Melvin stresses there is no evidence that people can get infected through the water. But now that researchers know SARS-CoV-2 can be found in freshwater, there’s a lot more to learn, especially about how community infection can be measured.

Read more here.