Maine CDC increasing emphasis on wastewater testing

Maine CDC
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 4:55 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The Maine CDC is going to start placing a much larger emphasis on testing wastewater in Maine to serve as a gauge of coronavirus levels across the state.

Dr. Nirav Shah reports the state’s testing labs are overrun with a backlog of tests, and daily case counts don’t offer what he called “of the moment” information.

This is a tactic many other states have employed throughout the pandemic.

“Allows us to see if there’s COVID in the water, and if so, how much COVID there is. Doing this on a frequent basis gives us a sense of how the amount of COVID changes week by week, community by community. It’s a helpful tool to monitor and track the course of the virus at a community level. Wastewater testing can provide an early indicator of the presence of and the trends of COVID-19 cases across the community,” said Shah.

Shah says Maine will use 20 different communities to start its monitoring.

They represent varying demographics and vaccination levels.

The only three he announced were Guilford, Bethel, and Bath.

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