Since May 2020, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and researchers at the University of Missouri – Columbia have been collaborating on a statewide project to test wastewater for genetic markers of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The project recently received new funding through a grant from National Institutes of Health (NIH) to expand wastewater testing to additional congregate living facilities. Public health experts have identified wastewater testing as a useful tool for early detection of outbreaks, even as vaccination efforts progress and clinical testing improves. Please see the letter regarding information about this project and information on recruiting 20 congregate living communities to participate in an expansion of this testing. Ideally, communities would have 50 or more residents who contribute to the sewer system.
Please contact the Department of Health and Senior Services Environmental Public Health Tracking Team at EPHTN@health.mo.gov or 866-628-9891 or 573-751-6102 to express interest in the project or to ask any additional questions. Communities who are interested will receive a follow-up contact from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to determine if their sewer system will work for this type of testing.