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Sewage Sampling

What gets flushed away may help cities brace for an uptick in COVID-19 cases, the Verge reports.

New Haven, Connecticut, and Carmel, Indiana, have been taking samples from their sewage systems to send off for analysis for traces of SARS-CoV-2, it adds. New Haven's samples are taken to Yale University for viral analysis, which the researchers say have been able to detect an upswing in SARS-CoV-2 viral loads about a week ahead of an increase in patient cases. "So it could be an early warning," Yale's Jordan Peccia tells it.

Carmel is similarly sending samples to a biotech company called Biobot for analysis, though city officials tell the Verge the turnaround has been slow and they may switch to a more local group. The company notes at the Verge the delay was due to it initially being a free service.

The Carmel mayor, Jim Brainard, says he hopes to publicly report those numbers, it adds. Additionally, he wants to be able to focus the analysis on particular buildings. "Then if we saw a spike in that building, we could get everybody in that building a test within a couple days, find out who's spreading it, get the quarantine started, and do the contact tracing," he tells the Verge.