Wastewater surveillance is an important tool to track the spread of COVID-19 and help predict a rise in cases within a community. Wastewater surveillance can detect the SARS-COV-2 virus in wastewater as many as three to seven days before we see increases in the percentage of people who test positive or are hospitalized with COVID-19.
These data are collected from participating counties and are updated here on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Data shown here may differ from CDC’s COVID wastewater surveillance tracker, due to differing processing and methodology. View the Wastewater Surveillance Methodological Notes for more information about how these data are reported.
The NYS Wastewater Surveillance Network is a collaboration between Syracuse University, SUNY-ESF, University at Buffalo - SUNY, Stony Brook University, Upstate Medical University, NYS Department of Health, and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Details on COVID-19 wastewater testing within New York City are available here.
Learn more about wastewater surveillance in New York State.
SARS-CoV-2 detection level – The SARS-CoV-2 detection level is displayed in three categories - Low, Moderate, and High – showing how much viral RNA was detected in the wastewater sample. High detection levels include four additional subcategories, based on historical data. Levels are based on the highest detection reported from the most recent three samples. These detection levels estimate community levels of transmission of the SARS-CoV2 virus.
*Additional details on the case thresholds that correlate with each detection level can be found in the Detection Level Calculations section of the methodological notes.
Changes over Time - Increasing or decreasing changes in SARs-COV2 in wastewater are shown over a two-week period.
This dashboard shows the change in SARS-CoV-2 over time, by displaying the ratio of SARS-CoV-2 genes in human fecal waste. As detection levels rise, the trend line will also rise indicating increases in detection.
*Please note that some wastewater treatment plants only use one of the two detection methods. If the SARS-CoV-2 Intensity graph appears blank for a given treatment plant, please check the Gene Copies chart for additional data.
Intensity ratio of SARS-CoV-2 detected
To better understand the amount of SARS-CoV-2 detected in wastewater, a population-adjusted ratio is used - SARS-CoV-2 gene fragments detected, divided by the total human fecal indicator in the sample. The human fecal indicator is the total amount of waste coming into the sewer system. This value allows for comparison of one SARS-CoV-2 RNA sample to another, and is a good indicator for how much SARS-CoV-2 virus might be transmitting in the community.
SARs-CoV-2 Genes Detected in Wastewater
This plot shows the average number of SARS-CoV-2 gene copies detected in each sample of wastewater. Gene copies are used to determine the two-week trend at sampling sites that do not collect fecal indicator data. Detection levels can be grouped based on three categories:
- Measured: The actual detection level identified by the laboratory in the wastewater, This indicates higher levels of SARS-CoV-2 and greater infections in the community.
- Estimated: The estimated detection level where SARs-COV-2 genes are present but too low to measure in wastewater. This indicates fewer infections in the community
- No-Detect: When no SARs-CoV-2 gene copies are detected in a sample.