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Wastewater data suggests more COVID-19 infections in Janesville than reported

Wastewater data suggests more COVID-19 infections in Janesville than reported

JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) — Wastewater samples provide a clearer picture of COVID-19 in Janesville, with data indicating more COVID-19 infections than are actually reported.

The Rock County health department says the dashboard data probably doesn’t reflect the full extent of COVID-19 infections in Janesville, because people with mild symptoms or no symptoms at all may not be tested. Also COVID-19 tests at home are not always reported to the authority.

Rock County Public Health Department epidemiologist Nick Zupan explained that data from the City of Janesville’s Wastewater Utility suggests more COVID-19 case activity than what shows positive from PCR testing.

“The wastewater tests can give us an idea of ​​the trends that are occurring beyond what is reported to the health department in PCR testing,” Zupan said. “While it is difficult to estimate how many more people have COVID-19 from the wastewater data, we are now seeing much higher levels than at any other time in the pandemic.”

Samples of utility wastewater are collected twice a week and sent to the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene for testing. The lab then determines the amount of COVID-19 present in the community and posts it on the state dashboard.

Based on wastewater samples in Janesville, the seven-day moving average for COVID-19 was 127.4 per 100,000 residents. The peak seven-day average so far for sewage in Janesville was reported last Saturday, at 188 per 100,000 residents.

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