COVID-19 low city sewage levels | News, Sports, Jobs

MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Health Department reports that sewage samples taken weekly since March 8 at sewage treatment plants in the city of Dunkirk and the town of Jamestown have detected low levels. of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

People infected with COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms, shed the virus in feces. Sewage testing is a non-intrusive, anonymous method of detecting baseline levels of COVID-19 in a community without relying on sick people to seek testing.

“The wastewater monitoring program is an early warning system to manage COVID-19 as we move into an endemic phase,” said Public Health Director Christine Schuyler. “Continued global surveillance gives us a better idea of ​​how to respond to outbreaks of this disease, as we cannot catch up. We must be ready – not to isolate and quarantine people – but to mobilize personnel and resources such as testing availability, PPE, health care and long-term care systems, efforts immunization and first responders. A wastewater surveillance program is an important epidemiological tool in the communicable disease prevention toolbox.

Raw (untreated) sewage is collected weekly at the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities Wastewater Treatment Plant and the City of Dunkirk Wastewater Treatment Plant. Samples taken from the Jamestown plant represent waste from the entire town of Jamestown and the village of Falconer. The samples taken at the Dunkirk plant represent waste from the entire City of Dunkirk. Samples are collected over a 24-hour period and then sent to the University at Buffalo’s Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering (UB) for analysis using digital PCR technology.

“With rapid tests being widely used in the community, it is difficult for our department to monitor levels of COVID-19 in the community at large,” said Public Health Director Christine Schuyler. “This technology allows us to monitor COVID-19 trends and share the information with community members and healthcare providers.”

PCR technology detects the number of SARS-CoV-2 RNA copies present in wastewater. During the three weeks of testing, levels were below 800 copies per liter at the Jamestown and Dunkirk treatment plants. According to UB researchers, the number of copies per liter is usually in the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands when COVID-19 cases begin to rise.

“We are encouraged to learn that the sewage test results reflect the CDC community’s current COVID-19 level of ‘low'” Schuyler added. “We urge residents to continue to take steps to protect their health and that of their families, based on their individual risk factors.”

The COVID-19 Wastewater Monitoring Program is developed in partnership with the City of Dunkirk, City of Jamestown, UB, New York State Department of Health, and National Association of Community Health Officials. cities and counties. Local data will be shared as part of the Health Department‘s weekly COVID-19 reports and will also be included in the New York State Wastewater Monitoring Network dashboard (https://mbcolli.shinyapps .io/SARS2EWSP/#) in the coming months. weeks.

The objectives of “public health surveillance” are to describe the current burden and epidemiology of disease, monitor trends, and identify outbreaks and new pathogens.

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