The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) announced earlier this week that it has received more than $21 million in funding to expand its wastewater surveillance and infectious disease monitoring capabilities.
The $21.6 million in funding, which includes a $6.6 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will help NYSDOH launch new pilot programs through its Wastewater Surveillance Network to test for influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, hepatitis A, norovirus, and antimicrobial-resistance genes. The number of participating watersheds in the network, which was established in August 2021 to help support the state's COVID-19 response, will grow from 125 to 215 and cover 81% of the population served by public sewer systems in the state.
In addition to enabling advanced tracking of COVID-19, the network helped NYSDOH detect poliovirus in wastewater following the identification of a case of paralytic polio in Rockland County in July 2022. State health officials say expanding the network to look for other threats will give NYSDOH and local health departments advance warning for early intervention strategies.
"Providing confidential, science-based and community-level information, wastewater monitoring is advancing our tracking of trends for COVID-19 and has been invaluable in identifying polio in communities," acting State Health Commissioner James McDonald, MD, MPH, said in a press release. "These resources directly expand our wastewater monitoring network—and its reach—giving our team additional proactive capabilities to protect and promote the health of New Yorkers against more health threats."