City of St. Cloud Tracking COVID Through Wastewater
The City of St. Cloud has been tracking COVID-19 levels in the community through wastewater. St. Cloud Public Services Director Tracy Hodel joined me on WJON today. Hodel says St. Cloud provides wastewater services for 5 other cities in the metro area which includes St. Joseph, Sauk Rapids, Sartell, Waite Park, St. Augusta and soon to be Foley.
Hodel says what they've been doing is monitoring daily the wastewater coming into the treatment facility which takes waste from all the communities so it's very representative of the community spread of COVID-19. She says they collect the sample, send it to a laboratory in the Twin Cities, the laboratory will take out and identify the RNA. Hodel says there is a particle of the virus they can detect. She says when they detects those markers they know how much virus is in there.
Hodel says right now they are seeing extremely low numbers of COVID in our community. She says in mid January when they starting tracking daily they saw huge numbers of COVID in the community due to the Omicron variant. She says as quickly as those numbers rose they dropped quickly in early February and have remained low since.
Hodel says this tracking can be a great tool since many people who are doing COVID-19 testing don't report their positive results. She says they have a dashboard on their website with information updated weekly.
If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Tracy Hodel it is available below.