OHA thanks wastewater utilities for their help in monitoring COVID-19

MEDFORD, Ore. – The Oregon Health Authority and Oregon State University are thanking wastewater utilities around the state, for their help in tracking COVID-19 through the pandemic.

The OHA said in a statement Monday, that in September 2020 wastewater utilities around the state began collecting wastewater samples and sent them to OSU to be tested for COVID.

This testing played a large role in the state’s ability to track the spread of COVID, which helped local leaders prepare their communities to respond.

“Wastewater utilities have stepped up, they send us samples on a volunteer basis, and they do it because their charter says that they are there to protect public health and the environment and they believe that this is part of that,” said OSU Professor, Christine Kelly.

Kelly said the project, called the Nation Wastewater Surveillance System, is still ongoing. The project has since expanded to other contagions, tracking influenza and RSV along with COVID.

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