Why the Federal Government Points Out the Limits of COVID-19 Wastewater Inspection

New report from Parliamentary oversight body He says there is more work to be done to standardize the monitoring of COVID-19 and other illnesses. Wastewater monitoring, Utahns is now an important way to track the spread of the virus.

“Wastewater monitoring may have great potential as a public health tool, but some aspects of science may require further development,” he said. “Science and Technology Spotlight: Wastewater Monitoring” Report Released earlier this week by the Government’s Accountability Department.

Testing sewage samples for pathogens such as viruses, drugs, and toxic chemicals may serve as an early warning system to alert authorities to disease epidemics, the use of illegal drugs, or other public health issues. Said the report.

As an example, the report reports that low levels of COVID-19 are “before symptoms appear, 1-2 weeks before an infected person may seek clinical trials”, and excretion of people who have never experienced symptoms. It points out that it can be detected by objects. , “People who make up about 70% of cases and may not seek clinical trials.”

However, there are also challenges such as privacy concerns regarding access to genetic information, problems with animal feces and other potential pollutants, dilution by storm sewer flushing, costs, especially the lack of a uniform method. Added. Sample collection, analysis and data sharing.

This lack of standardization “complexes efforts to aggregate, interpret and compare data between sites and develop large-scale public health interventions,” the report said, with some scientists nationwide wastewater. He states that he recognizes the benefits of performing a COVID-19 test inside. ..

Utah Governor Spencer Cox’s New “Steady state” plan To treat COVID-19 like influenza and other fatal illnesses with limited outbreaks, the state Wastewater monitoringMonitor the spread of the virus, not the number of cases reported, with a visit to the emergency room test It is done.

Karen Howard, GAO’s Director of Science and Technology Evaluation, told Dezalet News when writing a “partial” report on how the public interprets wastewater monitoring data because of its technical nature. Said that it was not taken into account.

“We thought about how the data collected by public health authorities would be used primarily, not how the public would use it,” Howard said, adding wastewater monitoring. , “There is a purpose, but there is a limit.”

And by better understanding the restrictions outlined in the report, the general public will “better take the actions they want to take, based on the results of such community-wide views on pathogen levels. Can be done, “she said.

What is not clear is how the public should evaluate the data contained in Utah. map Indicates whether the virus increased, decreased, or remained the same at the site being tested. Another chart Shows risk levels ranging from “rising” to “monitoring”, “low”, “below reporting limits”, and “insufficient data”.

“I find it difficult for the general public to know how to interpret it. I don’t know if the public sector has a complete picture of how it should be interpreted,” Howard said. Mr. says. “They are looking at whether the level of the pathogen goes up or down. They judge it from the state of the virus, or the proliferation of the community.”

At this point, the data will probably be most helpful in showing how the COVID-19 epidemic is trending “rather than how to interpret numbers”, but more virus detections will lead the community to outbreaks. It’s also unclear what action the general public should take—and only when they show the possibility.

“I don’t think we have much experience with it as a country yet,” Howard said. She said the purpose of the report, sent to parliamentarians and other policy makers, was to focus attention on the need for standardization in wastewater monitoring.

“Once standardized, the next question is how to use the collected data to determine policies,” she said. “Again, I don’t think the public health community still fully understands what these numbers tell us and what we should do.”

Utah was one of the first states to start looking for viruses in sewage. Pilot project Immediately after the pandemic began more than two years ago and is now collecting samples twice a week from sites that make up about 88% of the state’s population, Nathan LaCross, Utah Health Department’s drainage monitoring manager, said. ..

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Track wastewater monitoring data From over 750 sites, but with current data, few sites are scattered across more than 12 states.Data is not used for CDC to calculate COVID-19 risk By the county to determine when a mask or other precautionary measure is recommended.

LaCross announces new wastewater monitoring website Working Admitting that it is “not a super-scientific method” to better show the trends identified through what he called the “statistical process”. measurement How alarming are those trends really?

Maddi Crezee will obtain raw sewage samples at the Salt Lake City Water Reclamation Facility in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. The facility’s water is tested for COVID-19 twice a week.

Jeffrey D. All Red, Deseret News

Han Kim, a professor of public health at the University of Westminster, said of the state’s current report on the results of an analysis of what Utan flushed into the toilet: get annoyed, Especially for the general public. Despite being an epidemiologist, Kim said it would be difficult to tell from the available data if the number of cases was actually increasing.

However, Dr. Brandon Webb, an infectious disease doctor at Intermountain Healthcare, said he was confident in Utah’s wastewater monitoring and said it helped. He also said that it was just one of the tools needed to track the virus.

The doctor said map Marking COVID-19 level fluctuations at wastewater treatment sites where samples are collected is particularly useful to the general public as it is “easy to recognize from a geographic point of view where hotspots are beginning to be seen”. Type of information.

But even when combined with “more detailed data” that is more useful to epidemiologists and other professionals Millions of gene copies per person per day Webb said wastewater monitoring is not the only way to monitor COVID-19.

“We are still watching other measures,” he said, including test results, hospitalization and death.

This is the same data reported daily by the Utah Department of Health through a pandemic. As of April 1, when the Governor’s new pandemic response came into effect, the State Department of Health is updating its public dashboard. coronavirus.utah.govOnly once a week.

That said, while most Utahns can only see new data on Thursday, it’s important to recognize that Webb will continue to have access to public health officials and other policy makers for information that is collected daily about the virus. I said that.

“Although the public report has been reduced in terms of frequency of updates, I still pay close attention to all epidemiological monitoring data available to our health colleagues and epidemiologists in the health department. I’m sure, “he said.

https://www./utah/2022/4/13/23022178/federal-report-says-testing-wastewater-covid-utah-other-states-limitations Why the Federal Government Points Out the Limits of COVID-19 Wastewater Inspection

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