Brief: Interpreting COVID-19 wastewater data from buildings

Apr 2022

Covid-19 wastewater monitoring is a powerful complement to diagnostic testing. Wastewater monitoring has been used at multiple geographic and population scales, from measuring community-level disease activity using wastewater treatment plant samples, down to measuring sewage in individual buildings, such as university dormitories, correctional facilities, and places of work.

Key points in this brief include:

  • Building-level wastewater monitoring can identify outbreaks, allowing mitigation measures to be put in place to prevent those outbreaks from growing.
  • Biobot has reliably detected outbreaks in facilities of varying sizes, from only a few hundred, to more than 1,000 occupants.
  • Even in congregate living settings where outbreaks can occur in the span of a few days, a single detection with a sufficiently high concentration can merit action, and in our experience has reliably indicated that an outbreak is occurring.
  • When paired with clinical testing, consistent wastewater monitoring prevents asymptomatic cases from turning into outbreaks.

Brief: Interpreting COVID-19 wastewater data from buildings

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