HONOLULU (KHON2) — COVID-19 cases have declined since early June in Hawaii with the omicron subvariant BA.5 still the dominant strain.

The Hawaii Department of Health went over their COVID-19 wastewater report which shows correlation with the state’s current positivity rate. 

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“Data from wastewater testing aligns with other data sets,” said State Laboratories Division Administrator Edward Desmond. “Results from COVID-19 tests taken by individuals show case counts have dropped since June.”

He said COVID-19 cases have declined in their state since June and is happy to use this other tool to monitor the COVID-19 levels in the community. 

“This is consistent with data in the Wastewater Report which shows concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 have declined since June. Genome sequencing shows BA.5 is the most common subvariant in Hawai‘i. The Wastewater Report also supports that finding,” said Desmond.

Wastewater surveillance can alert DOH when a shift in trends takes place or the presence of new variants. 

DOH will collect wastewater samples from 15 treatment plants across the state. The samples are then analyzed and will come out with the results about a week after samples are collected. 

The State Laboratories Division will publish their wastewater report every two weeks. You can find it on the Department of Health’s website

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“The State Laboratories Division continues to develop its own COVID-19 wastewater surveillance capabilities,” said Desmond. “Our staff is performing longitudinal validation of our own protocols by comparing results of our wastewater analysis with the results of Biobot’s analysis. The fast, cost-free analysis provided by Biobot gives us desired information and affords our staff time to work toward wastewater testing for other pathogens.”