Swabbing the community one flush at a time: Nevada researchers test wastewater to track coronavirus

Jan 25, 2021

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — What you flush is helping researchers track COVID-19 before cases spike and as new mutations of the virus appear.

Scientists from the Southern Nevada Water Authority take samples from wastewater to see how much coronavirus is in our sewer system. These results help public health leaders find spikes and clusters before they can be identified through traditional testing methods.

“I don’t think it’s something that somebody thinks about when they flush the toilet, but there’s definitely value to what’s going down the toilet,” Daniel Gerrity, the water authority’s principal research scientist, said.

Every Monday, Gerrity drives out to the Flamingo Resource Center, a sprawling facility handling 100 million gallons of sewage a day, to fill two gallon-sized jugs.

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