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Program to Detect COVID-19 in Wastewater Unveiled

There is a new initiative that will help detect COVID-19 in wastewater in Newfoundland and Labrador.

A wastewater surveillance program has been initiated in partnership with the Department of Health and Community Services and the City of St. John’s during the outbreak in the Northeast Avalon region in February.

Samples were collected at the Riverhead Wastewater Treatment Facility, which treats wastewater for approximately 130,000 people in St. John’s, Mount Pearl and Paradise. To date, 24 wastewater samples have been collected, with only two out of 24 testing positive for COVID-19 during the peak infection timeframe in February.

All samples analyzed since February have tested negative for COVID-19. As part of collaborative work in this emerging area of research, these samples are currently analyzed by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg at no cost to the Provincial Government.

Wastewater surveillance for COVID-19 allows for the detection of the virus in a large population.


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