New Macomb County project hopes to trace COVID-19 hotspots by testing sewage

The new summer project will test multiple sewage sites in Clinton Township

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Macomb County announced Wednesday an initiative to test and sample sewage in a new effort to identify and trace COVID-19 hotspots.

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The Macomb County Public Works Office is working with Michigan State and Oakland universities to determine the effectiveness of testing sewage for COVID-19. Workers will collect samples at seven sites in Clinton Township twice per week through the summer. The samples will be sent to the universities for testing.

“Through this, we hope we can identify if certain neighborhoods or parts of a community where there is a hot spot," said Macomb County Commissioner Candice Miller. “Our goal is to provide that information to the Health Department, so they can better target their contact tracing or other actions they may be able to take to reduce the community risk.”

Officials say they plan to provide the gathered data to the public in an online dashboard in addition to sharing it with the Macomb County Health Department for review.

The initial $1 million budget for the project is being funded by funds received through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

"We believe there is a real opportunity here to be a part of the solution and we are working as quickly as we can toward that goal,” Miller said. “This ability to detect potential hotspots will be critical as we re-open our economy.”

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The project is scheduled to begin in June and will be reevaluated at the end of the summer. Officials say that if the project proves successful, it can be easily expanded to other areas within the county.

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