Illinois to expand sewage testing for COVID and other pathogens

CHICAGO (CBS) — In an effort to stop the next COVID-19 outbreak before it starts, Illinois is expanding its wastewater testing program.

In partnership with the Discovery Partners Institute at the University of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health said it will select 20 K-12 schools across Illinois to participate in a 25-year pilot program. weeks.

The schools will be both elementary and middle schools in urban, suburban and rural areas.

Samples will be taken from school sewers twice a week – and will then be analyzed for COVID and flu DNA.

“This is another layer of protection, not just for COVID, but for public health in general,” said Laura Clements, senior project manager at the Discovery Partners Institute, who leads DPI’s COVID-19 efforts. sanitation, in a press release. “We are building infrastructure and services that will protect Illinois for generations to come.”

Health officials say sewage tests are cheaper than saliva tests and can trigger an outbreak before patients develop symptoms.


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