Wastewater Surveillance Program is used to detect COVID-19 in Utah
SALT LAKE CITY — Since the beginning of the pandemic, many measures, actions and programs have been taken to fight the spread of COVID-19. Among those is the Wastewater Surveillance Program of the Utah Department of Health.
Wastewater surveillance program
“We collect wastewater samples from 32 different municipal sewage treatment plants across the state,” said Nathan LaCross, program manager, to KSL NewsRadio.
LaCross says in the search of samples his team is looking for the virus that causes COVID-19.
“Our purpose for doing that is to get an idea of what is happening in these communities,” LaCross said. “Wastewater is a mechanism by which you can do that.”
LaCross says the program is relatively new, starting up during the pandemic.
“The resurgence of wastewater surveillance in this country has come about because of the pandemic,” he said.
When it comes to a rise in COVID-19 cases, LaCross says its normal to see changes occur in wastewater first.
“In general, we to tend to see changes occur first in wastewater. There’s usually a lead time” he said. “How much lead time we have between a change in wastewater and the corresponding change in cases depends on quite a few different factors.”
LaCross says those factors include what kind of variant is being detected and how well individual testing is going on.
How often samples are taken
LaCross also says there are two samples taken per week from each site.
“So, I think we have a pretty good idea of what is happening on a regular basis,” he said.
Currently, potential case counts are low. However, that doesn’t mean LaCross is going to let his guard up.
“We are keeping a close eye on them,” he said.
LaCross says he is hopeful the Wastewater Surveillance Program can be expanded beyond COVID-19.
- Utah sits in the middle for rates of people quitting during the pandemic
- Utah health officials say testing for COVID-19 is still an important tool
Today’s Top Stories
- Police say Herriman woman tried to bribe an officer
- Fire sets off a propane explosion in Pleasant Grove
- California churchgoers detained gunman in deadly attack
- Black bear captured in Morgan County
- Be over the moon because total lunar eclipse coming Sunday to Utah
- iPhone sale gone wrong results in the arrest of a Salt Lake City man
- Dog thrown out of car taken in by South Salt Lake Animal Services
- A notorius ice skating hitman finds redemption through his sister’s eyes
- Dixie releases new logos ahead of official rebrand
- UPDATED: Suspect arrested in Salt Lake City fatal stabbing