P.E.I. launching COVID-19 sewage testing program in both Charlottetown, Summerside

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CHARLOTTETOWN - P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office is introducing its COVID-19 wastewater surveillance program in Charlottetown and Summerside beginning May 5. In a news release, the province said that testing sewage for COVID-19 can serve as an early warning system for a resurgence of the virus. The virus is often detected in sewage before individual cases are detected by traditional surveillance, like positive COVID-19 tests. Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison said wastewater testing can also monitor the presence and circulation of variants of concern. Through the program, sewage samples will be shipped to the National Microbiology Laboratory for analysis. It will take five weeks before information from the testing is publicly available, which the province said will allow "for enough data to be collected to determine trends in the community." The program is expected to expand to other communities in the future.