Note: All respiratory disease related dashboards are updated once per week on Thursdays.
Note: The data currently used in the dashboards are available in this data file and updated throughout the respiratory reporting season (July to June). At the end of the season this file will be archived, and a new file will be uploaded for the following season.
What is wastewater surveillance?
Wastewater surveillance is one method used to monitor the amount of SARS-CoV-2 in an area. In Massachusetts, the Department of Public Health collects SARS-CoV-2 data from more than 20 Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs).
How does wastewater surveillance work?
When a person has COVID-19, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is shed in their stool. A community’s collective wastewater flows to a wastewater treatment plant, where samples are taken and sent to a laboratory for SARS-CoV-2 testing.
What does wastewater surveillance data show?
Wastewater data can also help us track trends in the number of people that have COVID-19 in a community. The amount of virus that a person has in their stool and the length of time that they have virus in their stool varies. Because of this, the amount of virus measured in wastewater does not tell us total number of cases in the area and does not tell us the amount of increase or decrease in cases in communities. However, if the amount of virus in wastewater increases or decreases over several time points, that information shows that cases are either increasing or decreasing in the community. Importantly, wastewater data can provide an early warning about increasing cases since virus will show up in wastewater several days, maybe even a week, before positive test numbers start to increase.
Other Massachusetts Data
For more information on COVID-19, including symptoms and spread, testing, prevention, and treatment, please visit Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Archive of static COVID-19 wastewater reports (July-November 2022). All data used in the interactive dashboard since its beginning in November 2022 are included in the data file at the top of this page.