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Correlation of SARS-CoV-2 in Wastewater and Individual Testing Results in a Jail, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Institution-level wastewater-based surveillance was implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, including in carceral facilities. We examined the relationship between COVID-19 diagnostic test results of residents in a jail in Atlanta, Georgia, USA (average population ≈2,700), and quantitative reverse transcription PCR signal for SARS-CoV-2 in weekly wastewater samples collected during October 2021‒May 2022. The jail offered residents rapid antigen testing at entry and periodic mass screenings by reverse transcription PCR of self-collected nasal swab specimens. We aggregated individual test data, calculated the Spearman correlation coefficient, and performed logistic regression to examine the relationship between strength of SARS-CoV-2 PCR signal (cycle threshold value) in wastewater and percentage of jail population that tested positive for COVID-19. Of 13,745 nasal specimens collected, 3.9% were COVID-positive (range 0%-29.5% per week). We observed a strong inverse correlation between diagnostic test positivity and cycle threshold value (r = -0.67; p<0.01). Wastewater-based surveillance represents an effective strategy for jailwide surveillance of COVID-19.

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