Small presence of virus found in wastewater

Watertown’s water treatment plant. The city has contracted with Quadrant Biosciences of Syracuse to test the city’s wastewater for signs of COVID-19 weekly. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Tests have detected “a significant presence of (corona)virus” in the city’s wastewater treatment plant, according to the Jefferson County Public Health Service.

The health service has been testing weekly for the coronavirus in the city’s wastewater treatment facility and sending the specimens to Quadrant Biosciences, Syracuse.

In samples tested Tuesday, the COVID-19 virus was present in all of the sources in the city’s wastewater treatment, according to a press release from the health service.

The tests found results show “a significant presence of virus,” according to health officials.

The results from specimens taken Tuesday are “in line with the spike in cases currently happening in the county and are a prediction of increased cases and hospitalizations in the coming weeks,” according to health officials.

Officials said it’s critically important that everyone follow and practice prevention guidance, including wearing masks in public; distancing (while masked) from individuals in public, at school, and in the workplace; and disinfecting, including hand washing, and sanitizing commonly touched areas including door knobs, handles, faucets, light switches, etc.

They warn people with COVID-19 symptoms to stay home.

“Do not go to work. Do not attend school. Avoid all public areas,” they said.

If you need to be tested for COVID-19, call your healthcare provider first to arrange for testing that ensures you can receive a test without exposing other people, they said.

The city’s wastewater treatment facility serves about 55,000 people, both in the city and in surrounding communities.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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