Springfield’s wastewater used to predict the track of COVID-19

Jun 29, 2020

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Springfield is using wastewater to see if there are any traces of COVID-19.

The assistant director of Environmental Services for the City of Springfield Ron Petering says the city is partnering with the state and the University of Missouri to use the city’s wastewater to track trends of COVID-19.

“There are certain tracers that are present in wastewater that have been used to track other diseases or viruses in the past,” said Petering. “So, now, this study is looking to use that same technology and trying to track the presence of COVID in a community.”

The tracers Petering says they are looking for are not believed to be carrying the virus.

“If somebody is infected with the virus, as they process food and create fecal matter, there are certain tracers that are shed from their body, then carried into the wastewater stream,” said Petering. “They can look at the cumulative amount of these tracers that are present and based on again whether that very small sample is trending up or down, they can approximate, maybe, a number of cases that translates into the community.”

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