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Spatial and Temporal Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 in Sewer Network in Reno-Sparks Metropolitan Area
Civil and Environmental Engineering
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COVID-19 disease, caused by SARS-COV-2 virus, strained public health entities and communities, which faced unprecedented challenges in implementing clinical testing to monitor and inform public on the spread of the disease. In the early stages of the pandemic, researchers indicted that the virus is present in wastewater and infected individuals shed the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 virus in their feces. Researchers all around the world implemented wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) as a tool to monitor wastewater, which provides an efficient pooled community sample and may predict COVID-19 occurrence. Even though wastewater surveillance has been in practice for decades, the novel area of WBE research for COVID-19 is based on the exploration of the potential to provide an integrated, community-level indication of the presence of COVID-19. In this study, we implemented WBE with geospatial analysis using Geographic Information System (GIS). The study also identified statistically significant spatial patterns of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater through spatial sampling strategy across neighborhood-scale sewershed catchments in the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility service area. Using GIS technology of local spatial autocorrelation and directional distribution methods, wastewater surveillance at a more granular level provided greater sensitivity for detecting clusters, outlier, hot spots, and cold spots through the sampling campaign of sewer network.