That may be the strangest headline we’ve written at the Park Rag.
A friend suggested we check out the Utah Department of Environmental Quality website. They monitor “observed infection rates in each corresponding sewershed” or put differently they look for Coronavirus in poop.
Why this matters is that if a person has the Coronavirus, it will show up in his or her sewage. It doesn’t depend on a person showing symptoms or getting tested. It is a more complete picture, since, as the children’s book says, “Everyone Poops.”
The website is available here. If interested, you’ll want to click on the East Canyon or Silver Creek icons on the map. Historically, the amount of gene copies per person, per day, in the sewage seems to correlate with upcoming COVID counts.
If you live in the Basin, outside of Park City proper, you are generally covered by the East Canyon Treatment facility. The top graph below shows the amount of corona gene copies in sewage. The bottom graph shows the number of positive tests per hundred thousand in the area. The top graph of Covid-19 in sewage generally correlates with cases starting in May. The take away from this is that you are looking for spikes in sewage that have not been shown in the lower graph. This indicates more people are infected than currently acknowledged.
Right now, in Summit county we are generally seeing less than ten new COVID cases per day — and often only a handful. Per the sewage monitoring, we sit at about 4 MGC per hundred thousand people. That’s nowhere near the 77 MGC that accompanied our last spike. So, if you are a healthcare worker or teacher wondering what’s hiding beneath your patient or student’s mask, there’s little COVID as of now — at least according to the poop.
We’ll continue to follow this and see if we can find a way to post it along with School COVID counts automatically. If we see a spike, we’ll let you know.