Ohio to test wastewater for COVID-19

Published 4:22 pm Wednesday, September 9, 2020

By The Center Square

COLUMBUS – In an effort to get ahead of COVID-19, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced the state would begin testing wastewater at a network of water treatment plants across the state.

Information from the new Coronavirus Wastewater Monitoring Network can be found atcoronavirus.ohio.gov.

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DeWine said in a news release the network was developed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 through the study of wastewater samples. He added the presence of coronavirus can be found in the waste of both symptomatic and asymptomatic people and can be detected in wastewater as many as three to seven days before those infections lead to increases in case counts or hospitalizations in a community.

The Ohio Department of Health noted that current research shows the virus fragments collected at treatment facilities are not infectious, and water released from the plan is treated to remove viruses and bacteria.

In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies, began the National Wastewater Surveillance System.

According to a CDC news release, sewage monitoring can be a leading indicator of changes in COVID-19 burdens in a community, depending on testing frequency.

Ohio’s network includes 28 treatment facilities throughout the state. The plan is a collaboration between the Ohio Department of Health, several government agencies, The Ohio State University, University of Toledo, Kent State University and the University of Akron.