COVID source shout-out: Wastewater surveillance in Wyoming

Wastewater surveillance is re-starting in some Wyoming sewersheds after an earlier iteration of the program ended in December 2021, according to local news reports. This monitoring is a good sign for expanded coverage across more rural parts of the U.S.

Researchers at the University of Wyoming, working with the state health department, first started testing wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 in fall 2020. The program included about 50 testing sites across the state, according to public data shared by the researchers online.

In December 2021, however, the testing program ran out of funding and had to scale back. The CDC’s wastewater dashboard includes just four sites in Wyoming that have reported to the National Wastewater Surveillance System in 2023. Data from these sites also appear on the Biobot dashboard, suggesting that they’re being monitored by the company in partnership with local health agencies.

Now, the state’s surveillance program is getting renewed funding, according to a report by Caitlin Tan for Wyoming Public Radio. Tan writes that “some of the larger communities in Wyoming” will soon be testing their wastewater for the coronavirus and other viruses. Data will be posted by the CDC, and the surveillance will continue through at least July 2024, Tan reports.

While the article doesn’t specify how many sites will participate, this is still good news for a state that’s had limited wastewater monitoring over the last two years. I hope to see other more rural states follow Wyoming’s lead.

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