Project uses wastewater samples to track coronavirus spread

Updated: August 31, 2020 02:36 PM
Created: August 31, 2020 02:05 PM

(KOMU)  A group of Missouri state agencies are working with the University of Missouri to track the spread of COVID-19 through wastewater. 

The research project started in May and it involves MU, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Department of Natural Resources.

At the beginning, samples were coming just from three locations: Columbia, St. Louis, and Springfield.

Jeff Wenzel, Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology, said the project has expanded to 74 communities across the state and is expected to continue growing.

"We're trying to get as many locations as we can just to really help us determine where this project may fit, what kind of questions it might be able to answer, and what kind of facilities it would help benefit most," he said.  

Researchers are running correlations between what they find in sewer levels and what's found with human testing to see if there's agreement.

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