Two southern Illinois counties will take part in a state monitoring system to test wastewater for COVID-19 outbreaks.
Jefferson and Franklin Counties are just two of the 10 in Illinois to put the system to work. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) are partnering together to get the program underway.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is detectable in human waste before symptoms appear in a person. This helps scientists to predict a surge in cases and use the information to put precautions in place.
According to IDPH, wastewater analysis is an ideal method for understanding COVID-19 trends in communities, complementing individual testing and providing an early indicator of outbreaks. The testing is sensitive enough to detect a handful of COVID-19 cases in a population of tens of thousands yet is completely anonymous.
IDPH hopes to have wastewater monitoring in all of the state’s 102 counties later this year.