- Associated Press - Thursday, May 14, 2020

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - A significant price hike is forcing a Wyoming community to reconsider plans to use wastewater testing to detect potential cases of the coronavirus.

Biobot Analytics Inc. expects to increase its fees for testing samples from the Town of Jackson’s wastewater treatment plant, The Jackson Hole News & Guide reported Wednesday.

The tests currently cost $100 each for a testing kit and shipping. But the Boston-based company is expected to increase the price to $1,200 per test in June.

“That may make this project difficult to fit within our health department budget,” Teton District Health Officer Dr. Travis Riddell said.

Riddell introduced the program last month as an innovative tool to track COVID-19 in Teton County.

The analysis detects virus particles from Jackson’s sewer system and provides a rough estimate of how much viral material was in the wastewater produced by residents on a given day.

Riddell said he wants the sewage surveillance to continue. “I’m hoping we’re able to find either another vendor or a way to work with this vendor,” he said.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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