Yuma County To Launch COVID-19 Wastewater Monitoring Project

Published: Friday, January 8, 2021 - 2:04pm
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Yuma County will begin testing wastewater as part of an early COVID-19 detection program, the first countywide wastewater detection project in Arizona.

The program will collect wastewater samples twice a week in various locations across the county.

University of Arizona's Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture will then analyze the samples and share data with public health officials. 

“It gives a head start warning, advanced warning, because people shed the virus in their stool about a week before they show any symptoms, so it alerts you to people who don’t even know they’re sick.” said Paul Brierly, the executive director of the YCEDA.

Brierly said the project is not only a monitoring program, but a response program. If a high volume of positive tests is detected in a certain community within Yuma County, state health officials can work to increase testing within that community. 

Yuma County joins the city of Tempe and the dormitory buildings at UA in Tucson, which have both used wastewater testing to detect COVID-19.

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