Orange County staying ahead of omicron variant with wastewater surveillance

Dec 1, 2021

Orange County is already taking steps to be ready to identify the omicron variant if it makes its way to Central Florida.

The county will use the same strategy it relied heavily on to help pinpoint delta variant outbreaks: wastewater testing, which was key to helping pinpoint outbreaks of the delta variant even before cases of the virus were reported.

“The county administration has a lot of tools when it comes to COVID, this being one of them,” said Michael Hudkins, Orange County Utilities Manager with the Water Reclamation Division.

During the last week of July, at the peak of the delta variant outbreak, wastewater samples showed more than 5 million remnants of the virus were flushed into the system by residents.

Remnants are small, non-viable fragments of the virus that are shed in waste by both symptomatic and asymptomatic residents.

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