Danish towns get green light to test wastewater for Covid-19

Danish towns get green light to test wastewater for Covid-19
A water treatment facility at Lynetten in Copenhagen. Photo: Biofos
Denmark's parliament has voted to change its epidemic law to allow the authorities to monitor wastewater for coronavirus.

From July 1st, Denmark’s infectious diseases agency SSI, and also municipalities around the country, will start monitoring wastewater as an efficient way of quickly identifying areas where infection levels are rising. 

In April, SSI said that an experiment where wastewater samples were taken and tested every day on the island of Bornholm had shown the method, which is used in the UK, Sweden, and elsewhere, was a useful tool for assessing the level of infection in an area. 

“A little over 200 samples have been taken from the seven different treatment plants and in 11 percent of them the analyses detected Covid-19 virus,”  Steen Ethelberg from SSI, said in a press release in April. 

“In the same period, 37 Bornholmers tested positive. There was a rough coincidence between when and where there was a virus in the wastewater, and when citizens tested positive.” 

Ole Bjørstorp, mayor of Ishøj last month credited the technique for helping bring down infections in the Copenhagen suburb. 

“When things were looking really bad, it was that that made the difference,” he said. 

Bjørstorp plans to make monitoring wastewater a permanent part of the municipality’s efforts to control the virus until after the summer. 

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