Dr. Bernitz cited in NYC wastewater surveillance of COVID-19

Betsy Ladyzhets
December 15, 2022

Highlights from the article:

At Columbia University in uptown Manhattan, an independent program has been a crucial source of information driving safety measures for the university’s 9,700 undergraduate students, serving as a smaller-scale example of how wastewater can be used to inform policy. Coronavirus detections in sewage coming from specific residence halls have triggered alerts instructing students living there to seek out PCR testing."


How the sludge gets scanned at Columbia

New York City’s wastewater surveillance program provides information from 8.6 million city residents, and each treatment plant represents poo and pee from hundreds of thousands of people. At Columbia University’s Morningside Heights campus, the surveillance is more concentrated, given a team of researchers captures the sludge from individual undergraduate dorms.

The sewage surveillance – which started in fall 2020 – has proven especially important after the university ended its mandatory PCR testing program, said Melanie Bernitz, vice president of Columbia’s in-house health care program and a member of the university’s COVID-19 task force.

Read the full article "Wastewater can predict COVID-19 surges, but New York City’s data remains hard to find" on Muckrock.