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Rapid implementation of high-frequency wastewater surveillance of SARS-CoV-2

July 1, 2022

There have been over 507 million cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), resulting in 6 million deaths globally. Wastewater surveillance has emerged as a valuable tool in understanding SARS-CoV-2 burden in communities. The National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS) partnered with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to implement a high-frequency sampling program. This report describes basic surveillance and sampling statistics as well as a comparison of SARS-CoV-2 trends between high-frequency sampling 3–5 times per week, referred to as USGS samples, and routine sampling 1–2 times per week, referred to as NWSS samples. USGS samples provided a more nuanced impression of the changes in wastewater trends, which could be important in emergency response situations. Despite the rapid implementation time frame, USGS samples had similar data quality and testing turnaround times as NWSS samples. Ensuring there is a reliable sample collection and testing plan before an emergency arises will aid in the rapid implementation of a high-frequency sampling approach. High-frequency sampling requires a constant flow of information and supplies throughout sample collection, testing, analysis, and data sharing. High-frequency sampling may be a useful approach for increased resolution of disease trends in emergency response.

Publication Year 2022
Title Rapid implementation of high-frequency wastewater surveillance of SARS-CoV-2
DOI 10.1021/acsestwater.2c00094
Authors Meghan M. Holst, John Person, Wiley Jennings, Rory M. Welsh, Michael J. Focazio, Paul Bradley, W. Bane Schill, Amy E. Kirby, Zachary A. Marsh
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title ES&T: Water
Index ID 70232548
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Leetown Science Center; South Atlantic Water Science Center