ST. PAUL (WJON News) - The Minnesota Department of Health is changing the way they test for the virus that causes COVID-19.

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Starting Friday, September 1st, samples of wastewater at the Metro Plant in St. Paul will be tested at the University of Minnesota Medical School and the Minnesota Department of Public Health’s Public Health Laboratory.

The testing was previously done at the University of Minnesota Genomics Center.

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Brooke Cunningham:

As we address the long-term management of COVID-19 in our communities, we are updating how wastewater surveillance is done in the state. The new approach will provide better statewide data for COVID-19 as well as future monitoring for other viruses.

Mark Osborn, study lead and an assistant professor at the U of M Medical School:

Going forward, the synergy between MDH and UMN will be a force-multiplying effort that serves as an early warning system for pathogens that impact public health.

The U of M has been monitoring 37 wastewater plants across the state and has updated a weekly online dashboard. Officials say the new testing site will provide better statewide testing, and research is working on adding tests for RSV, influenza A, and influenza B.

For more details about the wastewater monitoring system, find more details here.

 

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