FAIR LAWN, NJ - Bergen County is going to begin testing wastewater to track COVID-19 flareups, which can pinpoint outbreaks up to two weeks in advance.

Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco announced the move Friday afternoon as he touted the response of the county to the virus over the past eight months.

"Bergen County was the epicenter of the virus," Tedesco said. "And now we have a way to find the presence of the disease when it's at its most contagious point, before people start to experience symptoms."

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Tedesco said from instances of hand washing, for example, COVID-19 goes into wastewater and can be detected. 

"We will find available resources in the Cares Act Fund," he said. Tedesco did not mention the cost of the testing.

Without testing individuals and before they show symptoms, county officials will be able to pinpoint where outbreaks are occurring and take steps to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Tedesco cited a National Science Foundation study that discussed the efficacy of testing wastewater, and he said the findings are solid. "We're getting eight to ten to 14 days notice ahead of outbreaks."