Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on the decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services to create a national database of coronavirus evidence in wastewater:
“Testing wastewater is a proven early detection method for diseases like polio and cholera, and I’m glad to see the CDC is working with other federal agencies to develop a nationwide monitoring system for the coronavirus.
“Some communities in California have already enacted this program. Last month, health officials detected coronavirus in the wastewater system at Yosemite National Park despite the apparent lack of symptoms in park visitors.
“By expanding the surveillance program nationally, we’ll hopefully detect serious outbreaks in communities up to a week before people begin arriving in the hospital. This will give health officials more time to prepare, secure medical supplies and take the necessary steps to limit spread.”
Last month, Senator Feinstein wrote HHS Secretary Alex Azar and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler asking them to work to set up a national wastewater testing program for the coronavirus.
Similar monitoring programs have been implemented in Finland, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as communities in California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Ohio and Arizona. Senator Feinstein’s letter can be read here.