For months, we've been hearing that there are traces of the COVID-19 coronavirus in feces.  In fact, there was a recent study from Australia that found that it is possible for farts to spread the virus.

But, is there a practical use for these fun facts?  Yes, there is!

According to the KJ, the Greater Augusta Utility District has began using grant money to test sewage from the city's water treatment facility for coronavirus.  The samples will be sent to a Massachusetts company named Biobot.

Biobot will determine how prevalent the virus is in the samples.  In theory, this will allow them to determine approximately how many people in the Augusta-area could be infected with COVID-19.  Not all of us are getting tested, but we all need to use the bathroom, right?

What does it cost?  About $1,200 per sample.  But, the grant money will pay the $24,000 needed for weekly tests through the end of October.

The grant is part of the federal CARES Act funds coming from the Maine Department of Health and Human Service’s Keep ME Healthy program.  The grant money is also going to pay for training, health education, and additional cleaning supplies. In total, Augusta received about $150,000 from the program.


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