Coronavirus Wastewater Testing Program Shows Its Value

(BALTIMORE – March 1, 2021) - An early warning system to detect COVID-19 from wastewater samples has paid off for the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC).  Working with the Maryland Department of the Environment, HABC has detected elevated COVID-19 levels in wastewater at Latrobe Homes.

The agency is now using that information to notify residents at Latrobe Homes that this finding means one or more residents or visitors may have the coronavirus.

The Baltimore City Health Department is recommending that everyone who lives at Latrobe Homes get tested for the virus. The free testing will be offered on March 2nd, 3rd, and 4th from 12:00PM-3:00PM at the Daycare Center, located near 924 Ashland Court.

In the interim, HABC is urging residents to continue following routine coronavirus prevention guidance such as mask wearing, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings to prevent the virus from spreading.  

“Protecting our residents’ health and wellbeing is our number one job,” said HABC President and CEO Janet Abrahams. “This innovative detection program is working exactly the way we had hoped it would, giving us a chance to stop a spread before it starts.”

As part of an initiative presented by the state of Maryland, inspectors have been testing at the Housing Authority of Baltimore City communities for more than two months. This reading at Latrobe is the first time an elevated COVID level has been detected in the wastewater at a site.

“We have all been encouraged to see the number of COVID cases drop nationally and in Maryland in recent weeks, but we are not letting down our guard. That is why I am asking everyone in the Latrobe community to take the short time needed this week to receive a test,” Abrahams said.