Virginia will test sewage to help predict COVID-19 outbreaks

Posted at 6:14 PM, Nov 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-28 18:14:13-05

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Department of Health will be monitoring sewage in various parts of the state in an effort to predict future outbreaks of COVID-19.

The Danville Register & Bee reported Saturday that VDH is deploying up to 25 wastewater monitoring sites across the commonwealth. Testing sewage can help health officials gauge COVID-19 infection in a community.

That's because people who are sick shed the virus in bodily waste. The sewage monitoring will complement other programs that monitor COVID-19 infection in the state's communities. The goal is to provide warnings before a surge begins.

This kind of testing of wastewater isn’t new. It’s been used for other infectious diseases, such as polio.