Barrie City Hall running wastewater sample tests as part of provincial COVID detection initiative

Tests to determine prevalence of COVID-19 based on stool samples

It’s a smelly job, but somebody’s got to do it.

The City of Barrie has signed on to a province-wide wastewater surveillance initiative to look for signs of COVID-19. Studies show those who are actively infected with COVID-19 shed the virus through poop, even before symptoms start. Starting this week, the city will be providing samples taken from the municipal wastewater treatment facility to labs that will run tests to determine the amount of COVID-19 present.

“Wastewater surveillance serves as an additional tool that the health unit can employ in conjunction with other sources of information, such as testing data, in effectively understanding and responding to COVID within our communities,” said Dr. Lisa Simon, associate medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

Wastewater systems are closed off from the public and there is no epidemiological evidence that wastewater can transmit COVID-19, thus the initiative poses no risk to the public or city employees.