Fox Metro has been wastewater-based technology in our sewage system to anonymously track the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The wastewater holds a wealth of public health data that can inform better decisions on how we as a society combat COVID-19. Infected individuals shed the virus in stool approximately 7 days prior to testing positive. Asymptomatic and mild cases can also be captured using this data.
We have been collecting data from the Boulder Hill Interceptor as a baseline residential area since late May 2020. We are developing the relationship between COVID-19 infection rates and levels in the wastewater to use it as a future prediction tool. This data is also being supplied to the Kendall County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The purpose of this study is to create an early warning system that can alert us to emerging outbreaks and get a much better vantage point, supported by real-time data, into the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community. Below is a graph depicting our results from project inception through early August 2021. The blue and orange lines represent different laboratories’ results. We switched vendors in 2020 as a cost-savings measure. Data should be interpreted as trends.
There were 3 out of 4 weeks in a row earlier this summer that there was zero detectable COVID-19 virus particles. Now we are noticing another increase, presumably due to the delta variant’s increased prevalence in the area.