North Carolina health executives track COVID-19 proliferation by monitoring county wastewater
North Carolina health executives track COVID-19 proliferation by monitoring county wastewater

North Carolina health executives track COVID-19 proliferation by monitoring county wastewater

Health leaders in North Carolina are tracking the spread of COVID-19 by monitoring the county’s wastewater. On Thursday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and leaders from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced that they were changing their approach to how the state will track COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, the nation has tracked the transmission of COVID-19 primarily through testing. However, this method is currently not the most effective, according to state leaders in North Carolina. “Some measurements no longer measure the moment. Some that you are used to seeing, such as the percentage of positive tests, will no longer be our focus. We have selected seven metrics based on science to measure the moment, “said Kody Kinsley, secretary of the NCDHHS. These seven new measurements include the following: The number of people with COVID-19-like diseases visiting the emergency room Hospital admissions Case trendsThe number of people receiving vaccinations and booster shots The number and types of COVID-19 variants spread in the CDC community level area Measurements (Low, Medium, High Transmission Spread) Wastewater MonitoringWXII 12 News spoke with Gale Ketteler, public information officer for Winston-Salem / Forsyth County Utilities, to learn about wastewater monitoring. Ketteler said this method is new to the county. The Archie Elledge Wastewater Treatment Facility monitors COVID-19 levels, she added. She said the plant automatically performs a variety of tests every 15 minutes. When it comes to COVID-19, the plant sends samples of the wastewater to an external laboratory twice a week, where workers will test for levels of COVID-19, she added. Ketteler said the COVID-19 tests cover a large portion of Forsyth County’s wastewater. The testing process has been in place since June 2021, she said. “This is probably one of the best indicators,” Ketteler said. “We can see that there are levels of COVID-19 in wastewater before people have any symptoms at all, and some people have no symptoms at all. So in reality, those are the best indicators of what the level of society is.” “We can see where the levels are, when they grow up, when they stay the same, and when they go down. It’s just a really good way for us and the whole community and health systems to know what’s going on before we can ever see these results in tests or people showing up in hospitals, “Ketteler said. WXII 12 News also spoke with Joshua Swift, Forsyth County’s public health director, about the new method. He said the new method is more accurate than COVID-19 tests at present and can detect signs of COVID-19 in the past. This can help local leaders create and implement mitigation measures to keep people safe, “he said. he added. Dr. Christopher Ohl, an infectious disease expert from the Wake Forest School of Medicine, said relying on case numbers alone is “probably not good enough” at the moment. He said that the new method will not only help with COVID-19, but it can also possibly. help catch other communicable diseases in the future. “We will be able to monitor what is going on in our community,” Ohl said. “It may be different here in Winston-Salem or High Point or Greensboro than it is in Raleigh. So if you look at each of the specific treatment plants, you should be able to get an idea. I think we “I want to see more of this. It’s a bit of a revolution in the public health of society.” WXII 12 News also spoke with Kenya Godette, communications manager at Guilford County Public Health, to learn about the county’s wastewater monitoring. She confirmed Guilford County has a lawsuit in place. She shared a statement from an epidemiologist involved. “This is important because almost everyone on Earth today knows how stressful and time-consuming care testing and contact tracing is to support non-pharmaceutical COVID-19 control measures. Conversely, Although wastewater testing “(WWT) is proving to be an increasingly reliable alternative that is far more effective, timely, as well as naturally protective of personal health information and uniquely insightful about the relationships between place-based population exposure to infectious disease pathogens.”

Health leaders in North Carolina are tracking the spread of COVID-19 by monitoring the county’s wastewater.

On Thursday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and leaders from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced that they were changing their approach to how the state will track COVID-19.

Throughout the pandemic, the nation has tracked the transmission of COVID-19 primarily through testing.

However, that method is currently not the most effective, according to state leaders in North Carolina.

“Some measurements no longer measure the moment. Some that you are used to seeing, such as the percentage of positive tests, will no longer be our focus. We have selected seven measurements based on science to measure the moment,” said Kody Kinsley , Secretary of the NCDHHS.

covid test

These seven new metrics include the following:

  • The number of people with COVID-19-like diseases visiting the emergency room
  • Hospital admissions
  • Case trends
  • The number of people getting vaccinated and booster shots
  • The number and types of COVID-19 variants spread in the area
  • CDC Community Level Metrics (Low, Medium, High Transmission Spread)
  • Wastewater monitoring

WXII 12 News spoke with Gale Ketteler, public information officer for Winston-Salem / Forsyth County Utilities, to learn about wastewater monitoring.

Ketteler said this method is new to the county. Archie Elledge wastewater treatment plant monitors levels of COVID-19, she added.

gale kettles

She said the plant automatically performs a variety of tests every 15 minutes.

When it comes to COVID-19, the plant sends samples of the wastewater to an external laboratory twice a week, where workers will test for levels of COVID-19, she added.

Ketteler said the COVID-19 tests cover a large portion of Forsyth County’s wastewater.

The testing process has been in place since June 2021, she said.

archie elledge wastewater treatment facility

“This is probably one of the best indicators,” Ketteler said. “We can see that there are levels of COVID-19 in wastewater before people have any symptoms at all, and some people have no symptoms at all. So in reality, those are the best indicators of what the level of society is.”

winston-salem / forsyth county wastewater treatment facility

“We can see where the levels are, when they rise, when they stay the same, and when they fall. It’s just really a great way for us and the whole community and health systems to know what’s going on before we ever see them. “results in tests or people showing up at hospitals,” Ketteler said.

WXII 12 News also spoke with Joshua Swift, Forsyth County’s public health director, about the new method.

He said the new method is more accurate than COVID-19 tests at present and can detect signs of COVID-19 in the past. This can help local leaders create and implement mitigation measures to keep people safe, he shared.

Joshua Swift, Forsyth County Public Health Director

“The wastewater is a great way for us to measure the level of society and to be able to see it possibly before we notice it from tests or hospitalizations,” he added.

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Dr. Christopher Ohl, an infectious disease expert from the Wake Forest School of Medicine, said relying on case numbers alone is “probably not good enough” at the moment.

He said the new method will not only help with COVID-19, but it may also help catch other infectious diseases in the future.

dr.  christopher ohl

“We want to be able to monitor what’s going on in our communities,” Ohl said. “It may be different here in Winston-Salem or High Point or Greensboro than it is in Raleigh. So if you look at each of the specific treatment plants, you should be able to get an idea. I think we “It’s a bit of a revolution in the public health of society.”

WXII 12 News also spoke with Kenya Godette, communications manager at Guilford County Public Health, to learn about the county’s wastewater monitoring.

She confirmed that Guilford County has a lawsuit in place. She shared a statement from an epidemiologist involved.

“This is important because almost everyone on Earth today knows how stressful and time-consuming care testing and contact tracking are to support non-pharmaceutical COVID-19 control measures. Conversely, although wastewater testing (WWT) is proving to be an increasingly reliable alternative, it is far more effective, timely, as well as being naturally protective of personal health information and unique insights into the relationship between place-based population exposure to infectious disease pathogens. “


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