Wastewater testing aimed at catching COVID-19 spikes in Burlington

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A new partnership between the Queen City and Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center is aimed at gaining an early sense of when the virus is spiking in the community.

Wastewater based epidemiology will test samples from Burlington’s three wastewater plants. Testing will take place twice a week at no cost to taxpayers in Burlington .
To date, they have not seen any trends Which is consistent with the low presence of the virus in Vermont.

“People tend to shed RNA in their stool about 7 days before it would be picked up by a clinical test prior to being symptomatic,” said Brian Lowe, city’s chief innovation officer. “That gives us a great moment in time to see and begin to anticipate a problem so we can deploy different interventions to address that problem.”

Similar testing has been used to detect cases of polio and community-wide opioid use.

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