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Sewage Samples, Which Can Predict COVID Infections, Forecast Increase In New Haven

Luke Jones

Fecal samples collected from a sewage plant in New Haven show a dramatic uptick in COVID-19 infections this week.

Wastewater testing has proved to be an early indicator of coronavirus outbreaks. Jordan Peccia, professor of environmental engineering at Yale University, told the New Haven Independent that because the coronavirus infects the gut, sewage samples can show cases before symptoms appear.

Scientists at Yale have found that concentrations of COVID-19 RNA in fecal samples reflect COVID-19 hospitalization rates three days later.

Sewage data can be collected and reported quickly, beating other tracking methods by three to five days.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said the city has been following the wastewater numbers and other indicators and is planning a response to the increase in cases.