SAN MATEO COUNTY, CA — San Mateo County Health reported 46 additional coronavirus cases Thursday.
The latest report brings the countywide case count to 11,278.
The county reported no additional coronavirus-related fatalities Wednesday, leaving its COVID-19 death toll to 159.
There were 14 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in San Mateo County as of Thursday, of which two were being treated in intensive care units.
Elsewhere around the Bay Area and beyond, a team of University of California at Berkeley scientists has launched a pop-up lab to test wastewater from throughout the Bay Area to monitor for signs of the novel coronavirus, the university said Thursday.
Coronavirus researchers have observed that people who contract COVID-19 tend to shed the virus in their feces, offering an easy way to monitor the virus' spread inside a neighborhood or an entire city.
Monitoring wastewater for the virus can also act as an early warning system for potential outbreaks before they occur, as people who contract the virus can shed it in their feces before they start showing symptoms.
"Wastewater naturally pools the waste from hundreds to even millions of people in a single sample, so if you can collect a representative sample of wastewater and analyze it, you can gain a tremendous amount of information that you likely couldn't gain through testing people individually," UC Berkeley professor of civil and environmental engineering Kara Nelson said.
Nelson is leading the team of scientists that will study Bay Area wastewater in a 1,200-square-foot lab located in an empty section of the university's Hildebrand Hall. The team plans to monitor several sewersheds -- areas at which all sewers flow to a single pipe for easier sampling -- for the project.
For now, the lab is only analyzing the wastewater from a few thousand people and can process around 30 samples per week from 11 wastewater agencies around the Bay Area. By the end of the year, the team hopes to scale up to analyze some 200 samples per week.
Don't miss updates about the coronavirus in California as they are announced. Sign up for Patch news alerts and newsletters.
There have been 921,474 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 17,552 coronavirus-related deaths in California as of Thursday afternoon according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The United States had 8,927,472 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 228,439 coronavirus-related fatalities as of Thursday afternoon.
There have been 44,859,998 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,178,410 deaths reported globally as of Thursday afternoon.
— Bay City News contributed to this report