Sewage tests for traces of COVID-19 show uptick in Greensboro

Piedmont Triad News

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — For the past month, Greensboro Wastewater Management has been a COVID-19 monitoring facility.

“The Department of Environmental Quality called us and asked us to participate in the survey. We of course said ‘yes we will help out,'” said Elijah Willams, water information manager with the City of Greensboro

Wastewater monitoring is a way to track the spread of COVID-19 in communities.

Greensboro is one of 10 communities in the state participating in the Early Detection Program.

“We sample twice a week from Thursday morning to Friday morning. Also, from Monday morning to Tuesday morning. We take that sample, and we send it off to one of the labs through the University of Chapel Hill and they do the analysis,” Williams said.

The samples are taken on the north side of town from the North Buffalo Transfer Station.

“I think it was a funding issue where we decided because of the hospitals where it was mostly domesticated wastewater coming from the north side of town, that’s where we decided to test,” Williams said.

A page on the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website shows monitoring updates.

It shows as of July 14, Greensboro saw a sustained increase in COVID traces, the highest level in the classification.

“I would guess from looking at the trend of the delta variant that’s probably what’s going on,” Williams said. “When I first saw the data, I was concerned about it, It reminded me that although we did a lot throughout the pandemic, we have a long way to go.”

The samples are supposed to be a proactive step in protecting the community.

“It helps letting the community know what’s going on in a macro standpoint. It doesn’t trace individual people, but it does let you know in a specific area what’s going on. We can see in Greensboro in the north part of town we are seeing high numbers. It also has the hospitals in that area, so we’re seeing that we’re having an uptick in our COVID,” Williams said.

The testing is planned to continue through the end of the year.

The high numbers we’re seeing now are a reminder the virus is still here and a threat to the community.

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