Researchers launch website with groundbreaking COVID data in Santa Barbara
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 along with the UC Santa Barbara Express and various health centers…have come together to develop a dashboard,” said Dr. Lynn Fitzgibbons of Cottage Health.
This dashboard monitors concentrations of COVID-19 in wastewater in the Santa Barbara area.
“It’s important because we don’t always know far enough in advance in a disease causing germs that a pathogen a disease causing germs like SARS Covid two community has entered our community,” the professor said. of Environmental Microbiology Patricia Holden of UC Santa Barbara.
Researchers in this project say the new data will give advance warning to healthcare professionals before an outbreak occurs.
“I have this advance warning because very small amounts of this virus … will show up in community sewage,” Holden said.
Researchers say COVID home testing played a bigger role, leaving public health authorities in the dark about the true number of cases.
“I think it’s important for us to remember that case numbers mean something different now than before. So we really need to look to a variety of data sources to understand what’s happening with Covid in our community and wastewater is increasingly important,” said Fitzgibbons.
The project is led by several researchers from Cottage Health, Legacy Works and UC Santa Barbara.
The researchers hope the new website will become a tool showing how accurately COVID sewage monitoring can be tracked.
The website can be accessed at: http://www.sbcwastewater.org.