COVID-19 infections in Macomb County will likely increase, according to sewage samples

Sewage sampling Clinton Twp 6.jpg
Posted at 2:29 PM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 14:29:55-04

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. (WXYZ) — COVID-19 infections in Macomb County are higher than clinical numbers show and will likely increase, according to sampling of sanitary sewage directed by the Macomb County Public Works Office.

MCPW says the number of county residents who have tested positive have increased 125% in the last 14 days, putting residents at a "very high risk" level.

“Testing shows the trend line of what’s coming about a week before, it’s a precursor. Unfortunately our testing is showing that COVID cases will continue to climb into next week,” Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller said.

The testing of sewage for the presence of COVID-19 in the sanitary waste stream also reveals when and where an outbreak of clinically reported cases is likely to occur. The pulling of sewage samples, and subsequent laboratory tests to detect the level of the coronavirus, started as a pilot program in Clinton Township.

The goal was to assist the Macomb County Health Department with contact tracing and other efforts to reduce the spread of the highly infectious virus. At one point last fall, analysis of lab results showed the level of COVID-19 in Clinton Township was approximately five times higher than what clinical reporting data showed.

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