SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - There’s a new database in town that will help track COVID in an entirely new way.
"In an exciting development the city of Santa Barbara as well as express from UC Santa Barbara and a variety of healthcare centers … have come together to develop a dashboard," said Dr. Lynn Fitzgibbons of Cottage Health.
This dashboard monitors wastewater concentrations of COVID-19 in the Santa Barbara area.
"It’s important because we don’t always know enough in advance in a disease causing micro that a pathogen a disease causing microbes like to SARS Covid two community has entered our community," said professor of environmental microbiology Patricia Holden of UC Santa Barbara.
Researchers of this project say the new data will give advance warning to medical professionals before an outbreak occurs.
"I have this advance warning because very small quantities of this virus … will show up in community waste water," said Holden.
Researchers say COVID home tests have taken a greater role, leaving public health authorities in the dark about actual case counts.
"I think it’s important for us to remember that case counts means something different now than they used to. So we really need to look to a variety of data sources To understand what’s going on with Covid in our community and the wastewater is increasingly important," said Fitzgibbons.
The project is being lead by several researchers from Cottage Health, Legacy Works and UC Santa Barbara.
Researchers hope the new website will become a tool showing how accurately waste water surveillance of COVID can be tracked.
The website can be accessed at: http://www.sbcwastewater.org.