COVID-19 Sewer Sentinel Initiative expands Maryland’s targeted wastewater sampling program. This program will have $1 million in new funding, Governor Larry Hogan announced last week.
This is due to the rise of COVID-19 cases reaching record highs throughout the country. Some states are implementing new strategies to track and combat the virus.
Launched over the Summer, the initiative follows the state’s pilot program. This where wastewater was collected at five locations throughout Maryland. It is according to CBS Baltimore. In fact, the pilot program has success by connecting with clinical testing in most cases. Those even predicted outbreaks before they were recognized through testing.
“This connection between state and local health departments will test wastewater in public housing areas and correctional facilities across the state,” Hogan said in a press conference. “The science-based, field-tested program will help provide more data to detect and respond to outbreaks. It will help us save more lives.”
In the U.S., Maryland appears to be the only state with the formal implementation of the strategy. However, other cities across the U.S. are using wastewater surveillance. More than 65 college campuses are using the system as well, according to NPR.
The process of monitoring sewage from personal residences or other buildings is what wastewater surveillance is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Moreover, the sewage may contain fecal matter traceable for SARS-CoV-2. In fact, this is the virus that causes COVID-19. Therefore, it is an available method for early detection of the Corona Virus and tracing efforts.
Moreover, the CDC is working to develop a national wastewater surveillance system database. This where local governments can submit wastewater reports for public health action and compare all.
Democratic Representatives T.J. Cox (California) and Rosa DeLauro (Connecticut) sent a second request on Nov. 5, asking for additional details from the CDC.