Resource Data

Latest sewage data shows COVID at pre-Boston surge levels – NBC Boston

The latest COVID sewage data shows levels in the Boston area at the range levels they were before the omicron surge began in December.

New data released this week showed levels were back to where they were in early December, before cases started to rise dramatically. It comes as states, cities and towns weigh up what kinds of COVID-19 restrictions to maintain in the face of declining measures and what a “new normal” might look like.

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s tracking system, operated 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.

On Monday, COVID levels averaged below 1,000 COVID RNA copies per milliliter, down from about 2,000 reported on January 20 and peaking near 10,000 in early January.

Boston’s top doctors talk about school mask mandates, getting back to normal, and preventive and therapeutic treatments on NBC10 Boston’s weekly “COVID Q&A” series.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been declining in Massachusetts for several weeks.

There were 2,499 new COVID cases reported on Friday, and the state’s seven-day average test positivity and hospitalizations continue to decline.

The seven-day average of positive tests was 3.74% on Friday. The most recent high was just over 23% on January 5.

Proponents of sewage COVID detection have argued that it helps give a more complete picture of the spread of the virus in a community than state data, which does not include rapid home tests or people with COVID who don’t get tested at all.

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.

Forty-three communities in eastern Massachusetts have their water treated at the plant, including Boston, Cambridge, Framingham and Quincy. Data cannot be linked to specific cities, towns or neighborhoods.