Manhole cover for sewer, sewage. (Pixabay)

B.C. to begin to test sewage to find clues about where COVID-19 has spread

Health officials say pilot project has begun in Vancouver

As part of its search to detect the novel coronavirus in communities across B.C., the province has turned to an unusual place: sewage sampling.

Health officials said Tuesday (June 23) that the province was looking for the RNA, or the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2, which caused COVID-19. The RNA from the virus can be shed in feces.

Part of the inspiration for the project, which is being worked on by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control along with other Canadian groups, comes from Italy. The country, which was among the hardest-hit by the pandemic, has tested sewage from December and found some samples tested positive for the virus.

Sewage sampling has been used to detect other viruses, like polio, and officials believe it could serve as a method to detect traces of the novel coronavirus especially in B.C.’s smaller communities.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said it was “another surveillance tool” to detect the presence of the virus.

So far, the project has been piloted in facilities in Vancouver, where it will test sewage both in that city and from parts of Surrey. No traces of the virus have been found in these samples so far, which health officials said could be a reassuring marker of how little COVID-19 there is in the city.

READ MORE: Testing wastewater could give early warning of second wave of COVID-19


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gray Creek Pass now open

The Gray Creek Pass is now open again, after a new bridge… Continue reading

Cranbrook RCMP looking for vehicle, driver involved in hit and run

RCMP are looking for the owner of a white Toyota Corolla that fled the scene

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

New tee pads installed at Wycliffe Disc Golf Course, new course built near Radium

Thanks to the tireless efforts of the East Kootenay Disc Golf Club… Continue reading

Kimberley paramedics share experiences working during COVID

Paramedics are among those workers who were unable to work from home… Continue reading

Horgan says B.C. restart making gains as more people come out of their homes

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Amber Alert continues for missing Quebec girls, 6 and 11, and their father

Police issued the alert for Norah Carpentier, 11, and Romy Carpentier, 6, from Levis, Que.

Limit police access to lethal weapons in Indigenous communities: Justice Summit

Grassroots-organized National Indigenous Justice Summit was a free-to-attend two-day videoconference

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Most Read