Researchers with Houston’s Health Department will monitor the wastewater flushed from 60 schools and 15 senior living homes in the city for COVID-19 in hopes of catching outbreaks before they arise in clinical testing.
A file photo from 2018 shows a worker at Houston’s 69th Street Wastewater Treatment Plant. The city is testing samples from the plants for COVID-19.
City council on Wednesday unanimously approved $11.5 million in federal COVID-19 spending. Included in that was $221,000 to buy the sampling equipment needed to expand the city’s existing wastewater testing program into K-12 schools in areas with high positivity rates.
People shed the novel coronavirus through feces, regardless of whether they experience symptoms. The samplers will be installed in manholes outside the schools, and researchers will analyze them, looking for the virus.
“It’s very granular,” said Dr. Loren Hopkins, the health department’s