If a COVID-19 variant is found in Ventura County, here’s how we’ll know

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The following is an excerpt from VC Star, to read the full article, click here

Testing wastewater samples for COVID-19 can shed light on a host of information, including upcoming case surges and presence of an emerging variant. But limited resources and overwhelmed labs could prevent expanded testing in Ventura County.

Since June, the city of Oxnard, which leads the county with the most coronavirus cases, has been testing its wastewater. County and city officials are awaiting results from genome sequencing to determine whether two mutations found in samples taken since mid-January are the UK strain.

[…] Oxnard is hoping to collect more data in order to better pinpoint the locations of the virus’ presence and possible variants but wider testing costs money. The city has applied for a National Institutes of Health grant that would allow the city to collect more specific samples. But Mike Shaffer, an information technology manager for Oxnard, said there’s indication that the city was passed over for the grant.


“Just testing at the end of the line gives us some awareness but it lacks context,” said Oxnard Fire Chief Alexander Hamilton, who leads the sampling project with Shaffer.

Shaffer said regardless of the grant’s outcome, Oxnard will continue to test its wastewater. Funding is provided by a different grant from the Ventura County Community Foundation and from the Oxnard Firefighters Foundation. The foundation also funded a coronavirus antibody testing study last year.

What has been gleaned from wastewater sampling so far has been very helpful…

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