Boston’s COVID sewage data rises – NBC Boston

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Massachusetts, sewage data shows levels continue to climb.

Experts have said tracking sewage data could be a more accurate indicator of the prevalence of the virus than the number of cases, with more people using home test kits and leaving the results unreported to health authorities. .

the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Tracking Systemrun by Cambridge-based Biobot, works by analyzing bits of genetic material in Boston-area sewers to indicate how much virus is circulating in the community.

Data for Boston is collected from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant and analyzed by Cambridge-based Biobot Analytics three to seven times a week.

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

From data with sampling collected through Friday, the North system, which includes Boston and surrounding northern communities, was reporting a seven-day average of about 1,000 RNA copies/mL. The Southern system average, representing communities just south of Boston, was approximately 1,100 copies/mL.

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

The last time Boston saw levels in this range was in February and mirrors levels previously seen only during peak winter months. At the height of the omicron surge, levels averaged just under 9,000 in the northern system and over 11,000 in the nearby southern system.

Sewage data has proven to be a leading indicator during the pandemic, giving an early warning for new waves. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have increased in recent weeks. On Friday, the state reported 4,654 new cases, 729 people hospitalized with COVID-19 (including 223 primary cases), and nine new deaths.

Boston’s top doctors discuss COVID cases in Massachusetts, the BA.2.12.1 omicron subvariant, and whether masks should be required for schools in high-risk communities during the weekly series NBC10 Boston’s “COVID Q&A.”

What causes the last flare-up?

This last increase is attributed to the omicron sub-variants – the “stealth” omicron BA.2 variant and the BA.2. Subvariant 12.1, which health officials say appears to be up to 27% more contagious than BA.2. However, there is no data to indicate that it causes more severe disease.

The sub-variant now accounts for 40% of all viruses circulating in New Englandaccording to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Tuesday.

Will there be new mask mandates or other COVID-19 restrictions?

Despite the rise in cases here, Massachusetts and other New England states have yet to take action to bring back mask mandates or any other COVID-related restrictions that were eased after the coronavirus-fueled surge. January omicron.

But some schools in areas with high transmission have already made the decision to recommend that students and staff start wearing masks again. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education dropped its mandate earlier this year. The city of Worcester issued an announcement last week “strongly encouraging residents to wear masks” in indoor public places, but has stopped short of mandating it.

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