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City of Somerville launches wastewater testing program to get ahead of COVID-19 spikes

September 16, 2020

The Boston Herald shines a light on Stantec’s partnership with Northeastern University to conduct COVID-19 wastewater testing for the Boston suburb

As Somerville cautiously moves into a limited Phase 3 in its coronavirus reopening plan and Tufts students return, the city is launching a community wastewater testing program in the hopes of getting ahead of any virus spikes.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is shed in the stool of infected individuals. By analyzing samples of sewage, Somerville officials are hoping to spot coronavirus hot spot zones one to two weeks earlier than conventional clinical testing.

Wastewater testing is starting, and officials are expected to initially zero in on the Tufts University neighborhood, areas with high concentrations of vulnerable residents or high density, and public schools once on-site classes begin.

“Adding wastewater testing to our COVID-19 interventions is like adding a smoke alarm to your house,” Mayor Joe Curtatone said in a statement. “It provides a warning before the problem gets out of control. This new tool will greatly enhance our ability to detect and contain COVID-19 clusters in Somerville as they emerge.”

Read the full article in the Boston Herald.

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