Water Sector News
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Wastewater surveillance has become a critical COVID tracking tool, but funding is inconsistent
To look at recent data posted on Clemson University’s covid-19 dashboard, one might assume that viral activity is low on the Upstate South Carolina college campus.
The dashboard, which relies on positive covid tests reported by local laboratories and on-campus medical offices, identified 34 positive cases among students during the third week of August and 20 cases the week before.
These numbers pale in comparison to those from eight months ago, when the omicron variant first surged in the U.S. and Clemson averaged hundreds of positive covid tests every day.
For those who rely on these kinds of dashboards to assess the risk of contracting covid, the recent data doesn’t paint the most accurate picture, said David Freedman, who chairs the university’s Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences. With the proliferation of at-home covid tests, only a small fraction of positive results are reported to public agencies. Many people with mild infections don’t test at all.