Statewide system to monitor COVID-19 in wastewater
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WIFR) - The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Discovery Partners Institute announced a statewide system to monitor the virus that causes COVID-19 and its variants in wastewater.
The intention of the system is to provide public health officials with early warnings of a potential outbreak on a county-by-county basis, according to the IDPH.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is detectable in human waste nearly from the onset of infection, while symptoms may not appear for three to five days. IDPH is providing $5.5 million to build and support the monitoring system for the next year.
“Data generated through sampling wastewater will help public health officials better understand the extent of COVID-19 infections in communities,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. “Wastewater testing has been used successfully in the past for early detection of diseases, such as polio. Measuring the virus levels in untreated wastewater can serve as an early indicator of increasing infections in a community and can inform our public health actions.”