University of Oklahoma health researchers studying wastewater to get ahead of COVID-19, flu outbreaks

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FILE - This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. According to a study released in The Lancet Global Health on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, Fluvoxamine, a cheap antidepressant, reduced the need for hospitalization among high-risk adults with COVID-19. (NIAID-RML via AP)

FILE – This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. According to a study released in The Lancet Global Health on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, Fluvoxamine, a cheap antidepressant, reduced the need for hospitalization among high-risk adults with COVID-19. (NIAID-RML via AP)

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – University of Oklahoma Health researchers have been testing wastewater to find viruses, including the flu and COVID-19.

OU Health officials say they are finding high flu levels in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

Officials are worried COVID, the flu and other respiratory illnesses will spike simultaneously this winter.

“So, the real issue here is can we handle all this at once? Do we have the ability to handle all these patients, get them vaccinated, hospitalized if needed. That is our thing, that’s our concern,” said Phil Maytubby of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department.

FILE - This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. According to a study released in The Lancet Global Health on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, Fluvoxamine, a cheap antidepressant, reduced the need for hospitalization among high-risk adults with COVID-19. (NIAID-RML via AP)
FILE – This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. According to a study released in The Lancet Global Health on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, Fluvoxamine, a cheap antidepressant, reduced the need for hospitalization among high-risk adults with COVID-19. (NIAID-RML via AP)

Researchers are testing wastewater to get ahead of outbreaks.

Flu vaccination rates are low across the state, according to health officials.

Vaccine appointments for anyone five and older can be found the following ways:

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