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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 varying circumstances, results from Biobot may be delayed at times. Results will be updated when they are received. Sampling is ongoing, even when results are delayed. Additionally, testing has increased to twice per week. This may change back to once per week in the future.


Sample Collection Date: 2022-09-26

COVID-19 DETECTED

Virus Concentration
(copies per liter of sewage)
375,818

Effective* Virus Concentration
(copies per liter of sewage)
1,754,418

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

Source: BiobotLinn County Public Health Epidemiology Metrics, and The New York Times

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