The city has been collecting weekly samples from 39 sewage treatment plants and numerous HISD schools since May 2020 and tracking the levels of viruses detected, but now Houstonians can see the levels for themselves at any time.
The video above dates from the city’s release of data on the detection of COVID in wastewater earlier this month.
People with COVID-19 release particles of the virus in their stool, which can then be detected in wastewater samples.
The new interactive dashboard displays virus levels in samples collected across the city. The data can help identify virus prevalence and trends at the community level.
The dashboard, which was built in collaboration with Rice University, is color coded according to the level of viral load in the wastewater samples. It plots the viral load levels against the region’s positivity rate.
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“This new dashboard is another tool Houstonians can use to assess the situation and make informed decisions to protect their families,” said Dr. Loren Hopkins, head of environmental sciences in the Department of Health and professor of statistics at Rice University. “A high level of the virus in your neighborhood sewage means the virus is spreading locally and you should be even stricter about masking yourself when visiting public places.”
According to the dashboard, as of September 6, 2021, the city is experiencing a 385% increase in viral load detection, compared to July 2020, with an overall COVID positivity rate of 16%.
To view the new COVID-19 wastewater monitoring dashboard or information on vaccination sites, testing sites and more, visit houstonemergency.org/covid19.
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