Ten Bay Area counties, coordinated by the East Bay Municipal Utility District, are giving samples of sewage water to researchers at Stanford for testing. The scientists have received samples once a week for about the past two months, and results are expected soon.
The virus begins to show up in feces soon after infection, and according to some studies, well before the development of symptoms. That's a pretty early warning compared to one given by, say, a diagnostic test.
Eileen White, director of wastewater for East Bay MUD, is spearheading the effort, hoping it will provide information that officials can use.
“We can monitor trends in real time, evaluate community-based presence and infection rates,” said White, “and then prioritize to focus areas and theoretically observe the impacts of shelter-in-place orders.”
It could also provide early warning for health departments to ramp up capacity, she says.
Similar sewage monitoring for COVID-19 is happening in Massachusetts, Israel and the Netherlands. Read the full story here.
— Danielle Venton (@danielleventon)