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Detroit expands testing of wastewater to predict COVID-19 spikes

Development hailed as groundbreaking

Detroit expands testing of wastewater to predict COVID-19 spikes
Detroit expands testing of wastewater to predict COVID-19 spikes

DETROIT – Vaccine development gets the biggest headlines, but there is a much less glamorous effort underway in Detroit.

It is a program that samples wastewater in order to try to stay ahead of future spikes in the case count.

It is actually a process a lot of communities are really starting to embrace.

“Everybody poops, everybody pees...And when you do those actions you’re shedding the virus or whatever is in you out into the wastewater system,” said Dr. John Norton of the Great Lakes Water Authority.

And with that thought the City of Detroit announced today it expanded its partnership with the Great Lakes Water Authority and Michigan State University to use untreated wastewater to predict outbreaks.

“Wastewater based epidemiology has been used for a few years now, it’s been very useful in addressing polio,” said Norton.

Many health officials are hailing the move as groundbreaking including Denise Fair, chief public health officer for the City of Detroit.

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 366,242 as of Tuesday, including 9,324 deaths, state officials report.

Tuesday’s update represents 5,793 new cases and 190 additional deaths, including 30 from Vital Records review. On Monday, the state reported 360,449 total cases and 9,134 deaths.


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