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Virginia will test sewage to help predict COVID-19 outbreaks

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Posted at 6:21 PM, Nov 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-28 18:52:29-05

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Department of Health will be monitoring sewage in various parts of the state in an effort to predict future outbreaks of COVID-19.

The Danville Register & Bee reported Saturday that VDH is deploying up to 25 wastewater monitoring sites across the commonwealth.

That's according to a recent report from the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute, which collaborates with state health officials. The report does not state where those monitoring sites will be. But VDH has been polling utilities to assess their willingness to participate in a sampling program.

Testing sewage can help health officials gauge COVID-19 infection in a community because people who are sick shed the virus in bodily waste, even if they're not showing symptoms. Combined with other programs that monitor COVID-19 infection in communities, the goal is to provide warnings before a surge begins.

This kind of testing of wastewater isn't new. It's been used for other infectious diseases, such as polio, VDH said.

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Mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Richmond Raceway.

Virginians age 5+ are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. Pre-registration is no longer required, so go to Vaccine Finder to search for specific vaccines available near you or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343).

Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for the most complete coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?

People are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
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What you can and should not do once you have been fully vaccinated.

How to Protect Yourself and Others When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more.

These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings.

Click here for more information from the Virginia Department of Health.