Wastewater provides a solution for monitoring omicron's spread

Dec 10, 2021

Would you like to know if the omicron variant has arrived where you live? 

Two cities in northern California learned last Friday that they may have omicron in their communities, even before any residents’ clinical tests showed an omicron infection. At the same time, eight other cities found out omicron likely hasn’t arrived yet, and every other community in the United States could have that knowledge as well. That kind of public health radar is found in wastewater

COVID-19 virus markers can show up in sewage even before an infected person shows symptoms (and even though the wastewater itself isn’t infectious). Analyzing wastewater for the virus can detect a rise in COVID cases days before individuals’ tests show a trend. Armed with that information, public health officials can decide how to respond and how to deploy resources such as targeted individual testing.

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