Our bodies shed COVID-19 virus days before we show symptoms. So, Virginia is testing wastewater

Dec 6, 2021

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Virginia is now looking for COVID cases in our poop...well samples collected from wastewater treatment centers.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) launched the initiative at 25 sites throughout the state in September, thanks to funding from the federal government.

One utility that's collecting weekly samples for the VDH is Alexandria Renew Enterprises.


Researchers said the samples will help them to identify COVID-19 in a community before it shows up in testing.

Dr. Marcia Degen, Technical Services Manager for the Office of Environmental Health Services at VDH, said that even if people aren't showing symptoms of COVID-19 if they have the virus, the genetic material will show up in their poop – up to six days before clinical cases are identified.

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