Kent County health officials plan to test wastewater for coronavirus

Oct 22, 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- Kent County health officials are planning to use wastewater to potentially track COVID-19 infection trends and get an early warning on outbreaks.

The pilot program, expected to begin shortly, will see health officials testing for coronavirus markers in human feces throughout two large municipal wastewater systems, four adult-care facility septic tanks and the wastewater from Spectrum Health Hospitals Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

“It’s going to kind of show us, ‘Is the virus there or not there and in what concentration,’” said Drew Salisbury, a supervising sanitarian with the Kent County Health Department. “It’s not going to necessarily pinpoint an exact location of an infection, but it could correlate, possibly, to an increase or decrease in cases in the population that that sewer or septic system serves.”
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