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Bergen County tested wastewater for COVID-19 to predict virus risk



Bergen County officials say researchers will test the county’s wastewater for COVID-19 to protect residents from the virus.

Bergen County Director Jim Tedesco says researchers can open manholes or go to the water treatment plant and test a water sample for the virus. The county can then use this data as a prediction to see if people get sick or not, or if there will be a new increase in coronavirus cases.

Once a COVID-1

9 vaccine is available, analysts will be able to see if the vaccine works or if some neighborhoods in the county do not get or take the vaccine if RNA is still present in the water.

Tedesco says researchers could test the wastewater coming out of a nursing home or critical care facility to see if people inside are at risk.

“So if we suddenly see an uptick, [we can] go in there and start talking to people, ‘What’s going on? Maybe you need to separate people, maybe you need tests every day, ”says Tedesco.

Bergen County partnered with Columbia University to get this program started. The test started in May. Officials say it is particularly important in Bergen County, which experiences over 200 cases of COVID-19 a day.


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