Idaho is entering a new phase in the COVID-19 pandemic, one that looks a little more normal. Testing positivity rates are low, but public health officials say the pandemic is not over and COVID-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
One way states and cities are testing for early signs of COVID-19 activity is through wastewater samples.
Two of the five regional laboratories are up and running in the state and collecting samples from communities in Idaho.
The data will be a part of the Center for Disease Control's national dashboard identifying areas where COVID-19 is present in water waste across the country.
Specific cities or counties in Idaho won't be identified, but you’ll be able to see the area of the state where activity is detected.
“So at this point, you'll get a general idea of where the locations are by looking at the site that is presented on the map. It will give you a general sense of where they are. I can tell you the 30 facilities that we've reached out to, we have representation in each of Idaho's public health districts,” IDHW Bureau Chief And Laboratory Director Christopher Ball said.
The City of Boise treats wastewater for Boise, Garden City and Eagle. The water samples are sent to Boise State where they are tested for COVID-19, then the numbers are updated on their public dashboard.
As of now - there is no increase in COVID-19 in water levels being reported in Idaho, but numbers are ticking up in some other states.