Gunnison County will test fecal samples from sewer system to track coronavirus

Posted at 1:22 PM, Mar 31, 2020

GUNNISON COUNTY, Colo. — Gunnison County will begin testing fecal samples from its sewer system to track the spread of coronavirus in the community, officials announced Tuesday.

The test will "help us understand the magnitude of the virus within our community over time," county officials said in a news release. As of Tuesday, there were 80 cases of coronavirus in Gunnison County

The new testing method will begin over the next week through testing kits from a company called Biobot. The county will collect wastewater samples and send the kits back to Biobot, which can produce results in about three days. The tests will help measure of the scope of the outbreak in the county, track the impact of interventions, such as social distancing, and provide warning for a re-emergence of cases.

"Over time, we will be able to see if there are more or less people being infected," county spokesman Andrew Sandstrom said. "We are looking for any data point we can."

A scientist in the county let officials know about Biobot. The county has five wastewater plants and will test all of them weekly through Biobot.