Wastewater testing could help detect COVID hotspots

(Carli Luca / News Now Warsaw)

A new wastewater study could help in the testing process for the coronavirus and detect hotspots.

That’s according to Warsaw Utility Manager Brian Davison, who spoke at Wednesday’s COVID press conference. Davison said Warsaw was selected as one of 40 communities in the state to participate in this study. The city was approached by the Indiana Finance Authority regarding the testing.

Davison says the testing is able to detect the virus’ ribonucleic acid, or RNA. He cited a study from the University of Colorado-Boulder that has been able to correlate COVID counts in the wastewater to outbreaks of the virus. He said this can show whether an outbreak is on the rise or is starting to decline. One of the terms used in the meeting was using testing like this as an “early warning system” as to where an outbreak may be occurring.

Davison talking about the six plants where they can test, such as Warsaw, Winona Lake, Leesburg and some mobile home areas. Five satellite areas have also been set up to help with seeing where a spread may be at.

One round of testing was already sent in for results, but Davison said those were not returned by the time of the press conference. He said the turnaround on testing is about five to seven days. Testing is scheduled to be done over the next nine weeks.