MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Two new studies were announced by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Wednesday.
The studies are designed to help the state gain a better understanding of where COVID-19 has spread across the state, identify communities potentially at risk for outbreaks, and help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
One study will test samples from wastewater treatment facilities, in both urban and rural areas, to determine the current concentration levels of virus genetic material found in sewage. While it might sound a bit odd, it has been utilized to track a number of diseases throughout the years.
"This is been used historically for viruses like hepatitis A or norovirus or even polio," says Dr. John Meiman of the Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health, "So there was interest in trying to use some of these methods early on during the COVID-19 outbreak in several European countries to see if they could detect outbreaks early."
The other study, led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Survey of the Health of Wisconsin, will determine the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies in Wisconsin.