Samples show COVID in Yellow Springs sewage • The Yellow Springs News

According to tests conducted by the Ohio Department of Health, a significant amount of viral shedding of COVID-19 was detected at the municipal sewage treatment plant in the village. (Photo by Reilly Dixon)

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While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, continues to list Greene County as having a “low” community level for the coronavirus based on a revised metric adopted earlier in the year, recent samples local sewage show an increase in COVID-19 viral shedding in the village over the past two weeks.

According to the Ohio Coronavirus Wastewater Surveillance Network website, wastewater samples are examined for copies of genes or fragments of the virus that cause COVID-19. This data is collected in a way that highlights an increase in the boundaries of a community’s watershed.

An email dated Tuesday, April 12, from representatives of the Ohio Department of Health, or ODH, to village superintendent Josué Salmerón, reported that viral release in Yellow Springs sewage “has increased tenfold” over the course of the first week of April.

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The ODH website indicates that increases and decreases are determined based on average samples.

The website reads, in part:

“An arrow symbol is listed next to the facility name that describes whether the rate-adjusted gene copies (shown in millions of gene copies per day) are increasing, decreasing, or stable. This is done by comparing the mean of the last two samples with the mean of the previous third and fourth samples to determine the percentage change between the means.

According to the email sent to Salmerón, the reported samples were taken between March 28 and April 6. Using the ODH reporting model, Yellow Springs saw a 121% increase. Springfield also saw a significant 135% increase as of April 6. More recent data has not been released by the state.

In the village manager’s report to the village council on April 18, Salmerón noted that while sewage monitoring can alert municipalities to spikes in COVID-19 cases, it may not reflect a rapid decline. The ODH website explains this in more detail, saying the slow decline is the result of viral shedding that occurs for some time after a person has recovered and is no longer considered contagious. .

According to the email sent to Salmerón by the ODH, “Because wastewater data can be a good leading indicator of the potential risk of spread in the community, it provides an opportunity to proactively direct the resources of testing and tracing to prevent outbreaks before cases spike.”

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