Sewage shows countywide spread of coronavirus | July 30, 2021 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 30, 2021

Sewage shows countywide spread of coronavirus

Wastewater sampling helps track COVID-19 spikes, declines

by Sue Dremann

A study of wastewater is showing that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, is skyrocketing in Santa Clara County, according to online data from the county Public Health Department.

This story contains 844 words.

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Email Staff Writer Sue Dremann at [email protected]

Comments

Posted by Marion Poole
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 30, 2021 at 7:31 am

Marion Poole is a registered user.

Based on this report, it would seem plausible that testing for Covid-19 could be easily accomplished via stool sample laboratory analysis.

If everyone in Santa Clara Valley were to submit a sample of their excrement, public health officials could then establish an accurate infection rate.

Samples could be dropped off at specified county offices or maybe even the PAPD could be enlisted to collect them at various drop-off locations.


Posted by Lenora Peters
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 30, 2021 at 9:24 am

Lenora Peters is a registered user.

A home testing kit would be more practical and discrete but the results would have to be 100% reported for the statistics to be totally accurate.

And the the question might arise...would privacy-rights advocates consider a periodic stool reportage an invasion of privacy?

This is one for Governor Newsom to ponder along with his other gubanatorial duties and responsibilities.


Posted by Arik Chopra M.D.
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2021 at 9:59 am

Arik Chopra M.D. is a registered user.

The Delta variant emerged due to poor public sanitation measures in India and then it spread via aerosol contact among countless individuals.

The deceased were often tossed into the Ganges River because of cremation backlogs and/or the inability to pay for proper bodily disposals.

Covid-19 traces can be found in stool samples and here is where we can turn feces into an ally towards combatting the further spread of Covid-19.

If American citizens and current residents were required to provide an individual stool sample on a weekly basis, the path of Covid-19 could be easily traced and monitored.


Posted by fred
a resident of University South
on Jul 30, 2021 at 10:28 am

fred is a registered user.

Is anybody going to take action on this information, or will we just admire the technical prowess of the researchers?


Posted by Vicky
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 30, 2021 at 10:40 am

Vicky is a registered user.

Is there a countervailing legal argument of public good against privacy right?


Posted by BGordon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2021 at 10:53 am

BGordon is a registered user.

The graphs of "online data" are very interesting -- maybe they could be in the main article.


Posted by Biff Connors
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 30, 2021 at 11:01 am

Biff Connors is a registered user.

Mandatory vaccinations against Covid-19, face mask requirements while at indoor public venues, and periodic stool sample submittals would go a long ways towards containing the pandemic.

As far as privacy issues, it's not like anyone has any practical use for their
discarded feces so why raise a potential ruckus?

I agree with the previous poster who mentioned possible drop-off sites at various county offices along with the PAPD diligently collecting stool samples at predetermined locations.


Posted by Jocelyn Dong
editor of the Palo Alto Weekly
on Jul 30, 2021 at 12:36 pm

Jocelyn Dong is a registered user.

Thank you, BGordon, for your helpful comment. We've added the most recent graphs to the story, although our platform does not allow us to embed the interactive versions.


Posted by YP
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 30, 2021 at 5:07 pm

YP is a registered user.

Oh crap!!, this is not a good trend....


Posted by Midlander
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2021 at 5:10 pm

Midlander is a registered user.

Very interesting data. Thanks for publishing this!

Looking at the online data, the long term graphs for the four sewage sites have very similar shapes to the reported Santa Clara Covid-19 positive test numbers. So the two data sources seem consistent, which is always a useful check.

Now that so many people are vaccinated, we're likely to see a much higher percentage of asymptomatic cases. which may not fully show up in the daily test numbers. These will however still show up in the sewage numbers, so they may be useful in tracking asymptomatic transmission levels.


Posted by RDR
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2021 at 1:48 am

RDR is a registered user.

While waste samples make sense for community sampling, it doesn't make sense to use stool vs nasal swabs for testing individuals.

I am curious though whether the incidence in the different populations served by the 4 plants can be compared by this sampling. It would be interesting to know about that.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2021 at 8:40 am

Bystander is a registered user.

How's the contact tracing app doing? I have not heard any more about it since we were all told to get it on our phones. I haven't been pinged yet.


Posted by Miriam Stein
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 31, 2021 at 3:22 pm

Miriam Stein is a registered user.

- it doesn't make sense to use stool vs nasal swabs for testing individuals.

A self-administered nasal swab test might prove dangerous.

A home-style poop analysis would be far less hazardous and easy for anyone to conduct.

Maybe something along the lines of a chemical that changes color when poured into the toilet bowl or toilet paper that changes color.


Posted by EmmaP
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 31, 2021 at 9:59 pm

EmmaP is a registered user.

Given that Covid-19 apparently starts in the respiratory system, evidence of infection likely shows up first in that system (e.g., nasal swabs) and only later in stools. For individual people we want results early.
Also a search indicates that anal swabs/stool samples were looked at early in the epidemic and found not to be as useful as a swab in the respiratory system for early detection (though apparently viral evidence lasted longer in the gut so for someone who had been ill for a while and not tested for Covid-19 earlier an anal swab might show evidence of infection where a nasal swab did not).


Posted by Cassie Verdugo
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 1, 2021 at 10:04 am

Cassie Verdugo is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Cam Willard
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 1, 2021 at 12:33 pm

Cam Willard is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by chewie
a resident of University South
on Aug 1, 2021 at 2:35 pm

chewie is a registered user.

Where are the long-term studies?


Posted by Henry Beamon
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2021 at 4:02 pm

Henry Beamon is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Bethany Giftos
a resident of Los Altos
on Aug 2, 2021 at 4:46 pm

Bethany Giftos is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Marcie Hanson
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 2, 2021 at 5:06 pm

Marcie Hanson is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Bob Hernandez
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 3, 2021 at 9:27 am

Bob Hernandez is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Midlander
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 3, 2021 at 1:41 pm

Midlander is a registered user.

> Where are the long-term studies?
The link is in the article: Web Link
There are both six-week and nine-month graphs for each of the four sewage treatment plants in Santa Clara County. There is also a bunch of information about how the analysis is done and how they try to correct for various sampling issues. It's all good stuff.


Posted by Hughie Daniels
a resident of another community
on Aug 3, 2021 at 1:45 pm

Hughie Daniels is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 6, 2021 at 8:35 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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