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Buffalo part of state pilot program to detect COVID-19 in wastewater

Governor Cuomo announced $500,000 being set aside to test for the coronavirus in wastewater as an 'early warning indicator.'

ALBANY, N.Y. — As New York continues its efforts to control the coronavirus, a $500,000 pilot program was announced Friday that will potentially act as an 'early warning indicator' of the virus' spread.

Buffalo is one of three cities, along with Albany and Newburgh that will start to test for COVID-19 in wastewater systems. Testing is already underway in Onondaga County.

Up to 12 locations, or sewersheds, will be set up in each community and sampled three times a week over a four-week period to determine trends in each sewershed. The relationship between the wastewater virus data and COVID-19 cases within the corresponding area will be analyzed. 

"This exciting surveillance program is another tool in New York's pandemic arsenal to evaluate the effectiveness of social distancing measures and the phased reopening of the state," said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.

"As we prepare for an anticipated 'second wave' of virus transmission this fall, we must utilize every piece of available scientific data to inform us and ensure our communities that we remain ahead of the virus when it re-emerges."


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