Toronto tests city’s wastewater for traces of COVID-19

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Toronto has started testing wastewater for traces of COVID-19.The city’s media relations department confirmed in an email that Toronto Water is participating in three independent research initiatives, which “aim to assess the presence of COVID-19 in wastewater.”

The first initiative is led by the federal government, through Statistics Canada and the National Microbiology Laboratory of the Public Health Agency of Canada. The second is overseen by the provincial government through the University of Guelph and the Department of Environment, Conservation and Parks. The third is managed by the Urban Water Research Center at Ryerson University.

According to Ottawa Public Health, testing the levels of COVID-19 in wastewater can serve as an early indicator to help determine viral activity in a community. It’s something researchers in the nation’s capital have been doing for months.

“Studies have shown that a significant proportion of people with active COVID-19 infections excreted the coronavirus (called SARS-VCoV-2) in their stool, sometimes even before their symptoms started,” the website says. from Ottawa Public Health. “Every time a person with COVID-19 goes to the toilet, they throw the virus into the wastewater treatment system.”

Since not everyone infected with the coronavirus will be tested or even have symptoms, measuring wastewater levels can provide a general overview of a city’s virus levels.

Toronto’s medical officer of health Dr Eileen de Villa acknowledged the city’s participation in what she called “research efforts” during a coronavirus briefing on Wednesday.

“We are actively participating in these research efforts and engaging with researchers on their findings,” said De Villa.

The city’s media relations department says Toronto Public Health has yet to receive the results of the studies.

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