BCHU releases COVID-19 wastewater surveillance data

Published on: February 9, 2022

BRANTFORD, ON – Beginning February 9, 2022, the Brant County Health Unit (BCHU) has made wastewater surveillance data available as part of its COVID-19 reporting. This data will be displayed to the COVID-19 dashboard located on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage. The wastewater report will be updated weekly on Wednesdays.

Wastewater surveillance involves testing for COVID-19 in sewage by monitoring levels of the virus that are shed by both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. This data can be useful when access to PCR testing is limited to monitor and understand COVID-19 activity locally.

Wastewater surveillance is funded and coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP). Laboratory analyses for Brantford are completed by McMaster University.

When viewing and interpreting wastewater reports, data limitations should be considered. The data displayed represents 67.8 per cent of the population of Brant, as wastewater is only being sampled in the City of Brantford and does not include the County of Brant. Environmental factors such as rain and snow can also affect the viral load detected in wastewater samples.

Wastewater surveillance does not replace traditional COVID-19 testing and acts as an indicator of overall virus activity. Wastewater data cannot be used to determine the number of cases of COVID-19 in the community. It is important to interpret the data alongside other COVID-19 surveillance measures, taking into consideration the strengths and limitations of each measure.

For the most up to date information on COVID-19, visit www.bchu.org/coronavirus.