Monitoring Covid-19: Dashboards

Georgia Tech has created new dashboards to track and report the status of wastewater testing as well as symptomatic positives (students only) from Stamps Health Services. The previous dashboard, that has tracked cases since 2020, has been archived and will remain publicly available.

As part of Georgia Tech’s continued monitoring of the overall health of the campus community, we have transitioned from individual surveillance testing to monitor the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, to wastewater testing using samples from several locations on campus. Over the past 18 months, Georgia Tech’s Covid-19 testing team has validated this method for Covid-19 monitoring and has put in place the necessary infrastructure to conduct broad-based wastewater surveillance.

Understanding These Reports | Frequently Asked Questions

Wastewater Testing

This dashboard is updated on Monday and Thursday before noon.
View a high-resolution version of this chart.

Dashboard Key

 
  • Y-Axis: Normalized Genome Counts of SARS-CoV-2 RNA*
  • X-Axis: Date of sample retrieval

For an explanation of these measurements, please see the FAQs below

 

 

 

 

Understanding These Reports

Wastewater Testing

  • Wastewater testing, or wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE), is an emerging field used to understand infectious disease transmission and other human health trends evident in sewage or wastewater.
  • While wastewater testing has existed for more than 40 years, it has rapidly come to the forefront of disease surveillance with the Covid-19 pandemic. Because the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, is present in the stool of those who are infected, monitoring of wastewater is a good way to determine if the virus is circulating on campus.
  • Due to supply chain issues for clinical testing, delays in communicating results to individuals, and biases in clinical sampling (e.g., not everybody gets tested), wastewater testing has been able to provide more reliable information on trends in Covid-19 cases within communities compared to individual surveillance testing. Higher viral genome counts in wastewater reflect higher rates of Covid-19 infection in the community and, hence, an increased risk to public health.
  • Wastewater testing allows us to detect and quantify the amount of the SARS-CoV-2 genome in sewage and infer trends about increases or decreases in community spread, as well as identify potential “hotspots.” It cannot identify which individuals may be infected.

Stamps Health Services Covid-19 Tests

How Data is Reported

  • A confirmed case is defined as a person who has tested positive for Covid-19.
  • The page includes positive results from symptomatic student testing only.

Details About the Data

  • Tests are reported based on when the test was conducted.
  • Positives are reported based on the result date.
 


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is testing sewage effective for surveilling Covid-19?

Yes, sewage surveillance has proven to be highly effective in detecting outbreaks of Covid-19 within communities. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has started a National Wastewater Surveillance System to collect and centralize data regarding the detection of pathogens in sewage or wastewater from around the country. This proven approach is also being used internationally to successfully monitor the health of communities.


 

2. What unit of measurement is used for detecting Covid-19?

Wastewater testing detects and quantifies short fragments of the virus’s (SARS-CoV-2) genome. It measures the number of copies of these fragments per liter of sewage, normalizing for dilution by stormwater and other variables.


 

3. Where is Georgia Tech sampling wastewater?

Georgia Tech is sampling eight locations that provide access to wastewater from buildings in west, east, and north campus.


 

4. Why did Georgia Tech select these sites?

The sites were selected to provide a view of the overall health of the greater campus community.


 

5. When are samples collected?

Samples are collected on Monday and Thursday mornings. The frequency and sites of sampling may increase in the future if the pandemic intensifies or if new Covid-19 variants emerge that require special attention.


 

6. How are samples collected?

Samples are collected using a piece of equipment called an “autosampler.” These autosamplers are programmed to pump small volumes of sewage from a given site at regular time intervals throughout the day, yielding a “composite” sample of sewage that represents a sample collected over multiple days.


 

7. What do the different ratings mean for the Georgia Tech community?

In general, higher SARS-CoV-2 genome counts reflect higher rates of Covid-19 infections, and, hence, an increased risk to public health. In addition, because severely infected individuals may shed more genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 in their stool, higher counts may indicate the presence of more severe infections.


 

8. Can you tell who has Covid-19 from the sewage samples?

No. Sewage sampling cannot reveal who is shedding viral RNA. The results will be used to understand trends and hotspots in infections across campus.