LANSING, Mich. (WJMN) – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has released a new data dashboard to display wastewater monitoring data from the Sentinel Wastewater Epidemiology Evaluation Project (SWEEP) on the MDHHS COVID-19 wastewater website.

SWEEP provides weekly analysis and interpretation of wastewater data from a subset of existing COVID-19 wastewater monitoring sites in Michigan. The purpose of the monitoring is to identify and track the SARS-CoV-2 virus in communities. The results can provide early detection before people become sick or get tested and before cases are reported. Health departments and their partners can use the data to inform their public health responses. The monitoring method is noninvasive and privacy-protecting.

“The SWEEP data provides an in-depth overview of wastewater monitoring efforts at regional and statewide levels,” said Dr. Alexis Travis, MDHHS senior deputy director, public health administration. “Interpretation of the data provided on the dashboard helps to quickly and easily identify patterns in SARS-CoV-2 levels, track trends and monitor distribution of the virus in wastewater across the state. Over time, data from these wastewater treatment plants can be compared to other sampling sites and COVID-19 case data within the same region.”

MDHHS expanded upon a previous pilot project to support wastewater testing for SARS-CoV-2 at over 400 sites throughout the state in June 2021. A subset of the sites were chosen for SWEEP to allow for a more focused and timely data analysis that MDHHS says they can update weekly.

The SWEEP dashboard displays site-specific data nd trends from 19 wastewater treatment plants in 17 counties and the City of Detroit. The sites are referred to as sentinels and are distributed across the eight Michigan Economic Recovery Council (MERC) regions. According to MDHHS, data shows that levels of the virus are high throughout 7 of the 8 regions. It has increased at 9 of the 19 SWEEP sites during the second half of November. For 15 of 19 sites the most recently recorded level of virus was higher than 75% of all previous samples from the same site. The increases coincide with rising COVID-19 cases reported in the state.