Oakland County joins program to track COVID-19 in sewage

Oakland County is the latest county in Michigan to track COVID-19 through the sewage that is aimed at determining if your pooh can help predict virus outbreaks.

As Michigan endures its latest wave of coronavirus infections, Oakland County is tracking traces of COVID-19 in solid waste and believe it could hold some promising predictors about future outbreaks.

Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash said they're part of a pilot program to sample for evidence tracers of COVID-19. They're starting with Pontiac's system.

"We can do sampling in these sites on a repeated basis once a day, once every two hours, and then we can report back if there are levels, that are detectable in the first place, and if they're going up or down," Nash said.

It's still early in the project but the goal is to use that information to alert health departments of trends in an area's population. 

"This way we can predict outbreaks of the disease often even before the symptoms are (present)," Nash said.

There's an important note to be made, however, that the CDC reports there are no known cases of COVID-19 transmitted by feces 

If Nash, and all the partners involved can tackle this project, solids sampling could be used as a predictor for all kinds of illnesses.