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A partnership to track COVID-19 in Cheyenne wastewater

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Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 12:08 AM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Release) - The City of Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities (Board) is partnering with the Wyoming Department of Health to test the City’s wastewater for the novel coronavirus genetic signature. This type of testing acts as a monitoring tool for early warning signs on COVID-19 community-level change at a fraction of the cost of wide-scale surveillance.  Testing should also provide near real-time data of any increase and/or decrease of COVID-19 cases spreading throughout the community. The data and information acquired could provide more timely and focused policy response to the epidemic.

“The Board is pleased about the opportunity to partner with Wyoming’s Department of Health in order to provide our public health offices with additional data,” stated the Board’s Director, Brad Brooks. “Board employees have continued essential water and wastewater services since the start of the pandemic. We hope this partnership will provide yet another tool to help fight this virus.”

The Board currently serves around 75,000 Cheyenne residences with water and sewer services.  In the coming weeks, the Board will be collecting samples from various locations within the wastewater collection system to support the testing efforts.

“We are pleased to see more communities participating in this effort,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, State Health Officer and State Epidemiologist with the Wyoming Department of Health. “We will be trending data over time to monitor how concentration changes and whether it can be used to estimate prevalence in each location.”

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