HEALTH

Wastewater Surveillance Program is used to detect COVID-19 in Utah

Mar 15, 2022, 8:05 PM | Updated: Mar 16, 2022, 1:32 pm
Utah department of health pictured, it just launched Healthy Places Index...
KSL NewsRadio FILE- The Utah Department of Health and Human Services just launched the Utah Healthy Places Index tool.

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.

Read more:

 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Health

A bill on transgender healthcare — banning transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV and Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio

Utah Senate approves changes to transgender care bill, passes on to Gov. Cox

SB16 bans gender-confirming surgeries for minors and also places a moratorium on puberty blockers for minors.
2 days ago
Havasu Falls spills into the water pools below in Supai, Arizona, in October of 2016. Photo credit:...
Forrest Brown, CNN

Grand Canyon’s Havasu Falls to reopen to visitors after 3-year closure

 (CNN) — Havasu Falls, one of the most intriguing features of the Grand Canyon system, will be reopening to visitors after a three-year closure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. But it’s with a catch. The reopening is scheduled for February 1; however, access will be limited initially to a certain, small group. People whose previous […]
2 days ago
White carnations representing each of the 1,746 unborn babies that were aborted in Utah in 2022 are...
Allessandra Harris and Simone Seikaly

Speeches, silence, during Pro-Life Utah memorial at the Capitol

About 100 people including Utah lawmakers and religious leaders attended the memorial on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023.
3 days ago
 A mental health clinic will reopen on Thursday after a carbon monoxide leak sent at least 17 peop...
Michael Locklear

Carbon monoxide poisoning at central Utah clinic hospitalizes 17 people

The Central Utah Counseling Center in Ephraim was evacuated a week ago after a problem with an old furnace was discovered.
4 days ago
a row of guns are pictured...
Mark Jones

KSL at Night: How do we solve gun violence?

KSL at Night hosts Taylor Morgan and Maura Carabello speak with Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council about gun violence.
5 days ago
Prescription opioid...
Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN

Amazon launches $5-a-month unlimited prescription plan

Some of the generic drugs included in the program include Bupropion, Cephalexin, Doxycycline, Estradiol and Sertaline.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Wastewater Surveillance Program is used to detect COVID-19 in Utah