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Michigan Tech shares preliminary results of waste water testing for COVID-19

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 6:13 PM EST
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - The usefulness of studying communities wastewater to detect COVID-19 was the topic Monday during an online seminar hosted by Michigan Tech.

It was led by Dr. Jennifer Becker as she released preliminary results from her study of Houghton County. Basically the numbers mostly in line with the number of active cases in the county at the time. According to Becker, one of the major benefits to monitoring community wastewater is that virus particles are often shed into wastewater before symptoms of COVID-19 begin.

“That’s really important because it’s generally the emergence of symptoms that prompts people to go get a COVID-19 test, so as you see in this chart, we see SARS CoV-2 levels begin to increase before we see symptomatic evidence of COVID-19 cases,” Becker said.

Dr. Becker and her team are testing wastewater samples from other locations in the central and western Upper Peninsula. She’s also part of the state-wide pilot study along with about 19 other teams.

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