Virginia Department of Health Monitoring COVID-19 Spread Through Sewage Sampling

The Virginia Department of Health is sampling sewage at 25 sites across the Commonwealth as part of its COVID-19 monitoring program. The weekly sampling began September 13 and will run through July 2022, but researchers have been testing COVID-19 detection through wastewater since 2020. The VDH is using the program as a piece of its detection of future surges in the virus.

“Infected individuals shed the SARS-CoV-2 virus in their bodily waste. As such viral density in sewage water can give a good estimate of the number of infected individuals in a community. In fact, these values may spike before people even feel sick, and outbreaks can be identified over a week before cases are detected by traditional means,” a November 19 newsletter from the University of Virginia Biocomplexity Institute and the Virginia Department of Health states.

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