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RWSA still testing wastewater despite what CDC data may show

RWSA still testing wastewater despite what CDC data may show
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 4:30 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Virginia has used wastewater testing to track COVID-19 cases throughout the pandemic. Now, there seems to be a lag in data in Albemarle County.

From mid March throughout April, the CDC data tracking site shows a rise in COVID-19 concentration showing up in wastewater. Data reporting seems to have stopped April 18, but the testing has not.

“Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, data aren’t appearing on COVID data tracker, but they are available to the Health Department,” CDC Acting Program Support and Coordination Lead for the National Wastewater Surveillance System Rachel West said. “It may be something to do with that in this case.”

West says it starts with test sites.

“Then a variety of different labs process those samples, and that data goes to the state, local, territorial or tribal health department, and they then can submit that data to CDC,” she said.

The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority says it collects wastewater data every Monday, sends it out Tuesday, and it is reported Friday.

“I actually don’t know why they’re not posting it. We have data going back to May 2,” RWSA Director of Operations Dave Tungate said.

Data from May 9 is expected late in the day Tuesday, May 17.

“Charlottesville, we’re actually a pretty good test subject for the state. We have a large transient population with the university being here. We have multiple sewer sheds that feed into our water treatment plant, which comes into why we’re so unique and why we’re a good test subject,” Tungate said.

The Virginia Department of Health says the RWSA is one of its sites. It says it ran into some technology issues, but VDH says all the data is there and should be fixed and uploaded shortly.

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