WHITE PLAINS, NY — The Westchester County Department of Environmental Facilities is partnering with the City University of New York to get a better understanding of the impact of the new coronavirus on large urban areas. The method for the research is studying wastewater at county treatment plants.
Recently, it has been discovered that traces of the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be detected in fecal matter, according to a county spokesperson, and therefore, in sewage collected at wastewater treatment plants. What the study will do is take random samples from various treatment plants to find evidence of varying infection rates among different communities.
County Executive George Latimer said Westchester prides itself in being a leader for the nation when it comes to what county government can do.
"This partnership is another example of the innovative techniques we can use to advance our community and encourage others around the country to do the same,” he said.
The primary aim of the study is to understand the environmental and societal conditions that influence new coronavirus pandemic transmission in large cities. That requires recovering samples of the virus obtained from area sewage treatment plants.
The resulting information will be combined with socio-economic mapping to determine if the different genetic sequences can be used to find out the source of virus's. In addition, the data will allow the changes the virus undergoes as it spreads through communities to be monitored.
There were 472 active cases of the new coronavirus as of Monday, Latimer said. That is eight fewer than the previous day.
The number of coronavirus tests administered Sunday was 3,937. Out of those there were 22 positive cases.
The total number of positive tests to date is 35,799, Latimer said. The total number of tests in the county to date is 374,827.
He said there was no accurate information on the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19-related illnesses, but he said on Saturday it was 47.
Below is the map from the county showing active and total cases of the new coronavirus infection broken down by community.