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Wastewater collection to begin May 5th for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)

CANADA, May 4 - Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, announces that wastewater collection to test for COVID-19 (SARS-Co V-2) will begin on May 5th, 2022 in Charlottetown and Summerside. Testing and monitoring wastewater (sewage) for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 will detect the presence of COVID-19 infections in these communities without having to collect and test samples from individuals. 

“Testing wastewater allows us to maintain a high degree of surveillance for COVID-19 and its variants in the province,” said Dr. Morrison. “The Chief Public Health Office appreciates the support of the Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action, the municipalities of Charlottetown and Summerside, and the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg for their roles in implementing COVID-19 wastewater surveillance in PEI.”

Wastewater samples will be shipped to the National Microbiology Laboratory for analysis. It will be five weeks before surveillance information will be publicly available, allowing for enough data to be collected to determine trends in the community. Wastewater surveillance will expand to other communities in the future.

“As we continue to move forward with our transition plan to living with COVID-19, the opportunity to test and monitor our wastewater is quite timely. We look forward to supporting the province in providing residents and Islanders alike, with these additional insights into our community health,” said Mayor Philip Brown, City of Charlottetown. 

Regularly testing wastewater for COVID-19 is a population level intervention that can serve as an early warning system for COVID-19 resurgence because the virus is often detected in sewage before individual cases are detected by traditional surveillance (i.e., positive individual COVID-19 tests). Testing can also be used to monitor for the presence and circulation of variants of concern in the coming months.


The Chief Public Health Office continues to work closely with the federal government, provincial and territorial counterparts, government departments and Health PEI to monitor the pandemic situation and prepare for all COVID-19 related impacts to the province, including health, social and economic. The public health risk of COVID-19 is continually reassessed, and Islanders will be updated as new information becomes available.

Everyone is encouraged to follow routine prevention measures:

  • Get vaccinated
  • Wear a properly fitted, three-layer mask in indoor public places 
  • Keep your circle of contacts small
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue
  • Stay home if you are not feeling well
  • Limit touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Physical distance - stay two meters (6 feet) apart
  • Don’t share items like drinking glasses and water bottles
  • Frequently clean surfaces like taps, doorknobs and countertops

Media Contact: Morgan Martin Health and Wellness (902) 218-3430