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Sampling for COVID-19 in Community Wastewater

In June 2021, the City of Cedar Rapids began participation in a nationwide study of wastewater facilities tracking the COVID-19 virus. A company called Biobot developed the ability to detect and normalize the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 in communities' wastewater from samples taken at wastewater treatment facilities. In Cedar Rapids, Biobot is able to control for the level of industrial waste dilution, a key factor in sampling wastewater at our Water Pollution Control Facility (WPC).

Below is a chart showing how the strength indicated in the sampling of our wastewater stream compares to new COVID-19 case data from Linn County over time. The City is partnering with Mercy Medical Center and Unity Point to share updates on wastewater sampling for COVID-19. This information will continue to contribute to our understanding of the presence and activity level of COVID-19 in our metro area. Research from the study may also contribute to developing methods and techniques that could be useful in future illness tracking and predictions of contagious spread.

NOTICE: Due to a short supply of sampling kits, results from Biobot may be delayed the week of May 23, 2022. Results will be updated when they are received.

Sample Collection Date: 2022-05-16


Virus Concentration
(copies per liter of sewage)

Effective* Virus Concentration
(copies per liter of sewage)

*Effective virus concentration value is derived by adjusting the raw virus concentration to account for dilution and other factors.

Source: Biobot & Linn County Public Health Epidemiology Metrics

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