This past week, Virginia’s health department added a new wastewater surveillance section to its COVID-19 dashboard. The new section includes a map of testing sites, coronavirus trends by site, viral loads over time, and plenty of text explaining how to interpret the data.
Last week, I wrote about the Iowa health department’s move to end COVID-19 case reporting requirements for labs, and in turn stop reporting these data to the CDC. Well, Montana just became the next state to follow this trend.
As of April 1, Iowa’s state health department is no longer requiring public health laboratories to report positive COVID-19 test results—and no longer reporting statewide data to the CDC. This decision, announced in late February, is part of a growing trend away from relying on case data as people use at-home tests instead of PCR tests.
This week, I have a new story out in Gothamist and WNYCabout norovirus, a nasty stomach bug that appears to be spreading a lot in the U.S. right now. The story shares some NYC-specific norovirus information, but it also talks more broadly about why it’s difficult to find precise data on this virus despite its major implications for public health. Reporting this story led me to reflect on how COVID-19 has revealed cracks in the country’s infrastructure for tracking a lot of common pathogens.
As we head into the holidays with limited COVID-19 testing and undercounted case numbers, wastewater surveillance is the best way to evaluate how much the virus is spreading in your region. And it’s now available in more places than ever, thanks to the many research groups and public health agencies setting up sewage testing.
The COVID-19 Data Dispatch is going on hiatus for the month of August 2022. Here are some tips for keeping track of COVID-19 numbers while we’re on this break, and a bit of context about why we’re taking four weeks off.
As official COVID-19 case data become less and less reliable, wastewater surveillance can help provide a picture of where and how much the virus is spreading. This week, I put together a new COVID-19 Data Dispatch resource page that outlines major national, state, and local wastewater dashboards across the U.S.
This week, I had a new story published with FiveThirtyEight and the Documenting COVID-19 project about the data and implementation challenges of wastewater surveillance. As bonus material in today’s COVID-19 Data Dispatch, I wanted to share one of the interviews I did for the story, which provides a good case study of the benefits and challenges of COVID-19 surveillance in wastewater.