Wastewater Hospitalizations Deaths Vaccine Status Variants Vaccinations FAQs
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Wastewater monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is a meaningful way to show community-level infection trends over time. Several watershed sites throughout SLO County currently perform wastewater monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 at regular intervals. We are grateful to these sites for their work and partnership in understanding SARS-CoV-2 trends in SLO County. Wastewater data for each site is typically updated weekly on Thursday or Friday; however, individual sites may experience occasional reporting delays. Learn more about how wastewater monitoring works.
A new wastewater graph updated on February 9 shows data for five sites that use the same scale and laboratory to conduct their testing. (Site methodology may vary.) This allows for a more comprehensive at-a-glance overview of trends countywide. Sites not included in this depiction use different methodologies, scales, and sampling intervals so they cannot be directly compared to one another.
Hospitalization data highlights the severity of illness in the community and the impact of COVID-19 on local hospital capacity. This data, which is tracked and reported by the California Department of Public Health, includes hospital inpatients who have a laboratory-confirmed positive test for COVID-19 (“positive patients”) and those who have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 but have not received laboratory confirmation (“suspected patients”). This includes patients who came to the hospital from a setting with an active outbreak or tested positive with an at-home test.
Deaths reported on the dashboard are those for which the death certificate identifies COVID-19 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death. Deaths are closely reviewed by physicians, the County coroner, and state and local epidemiology teams; therefore, they are not reported immediately.
State Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Data
Statewide data shows the impact of vaccines on COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths across California.
Source: CA Department of Public Health. Unvaccinated and vaccinated cases, hospitalizations, and death source data.
This data shows which variants of COVID-19 are circulating in our region. Laboratories, including the SLO County Public Health Laboratory, genetically sequence a small percentage of positive COVID-19 tests to determine their variant. Results are used for community-level surveillance rather than individual care. For more information on each of these variants, visit the CDC variant page and CDPH variant page.
The charts below show vaccinations, including boosters, for counties across California. Select from the options below to see the latest vaccination data for SLO County, including vaccination information by age and demographic group. Data is updated regularly from covid19.ca.gov/vaccination-progress-data.
To see an archive of our previous dashboard, please use the link below. It was last updated on September 21, 2022.
See the previous dashboard
Other COVID-19 Dashboards
Other COVID-19 dashboards exist at the local, state and national levels:
How often is this dashboard updated?
Charts on this dashboard are updated throughout the week (once or twice per week) as new data is available. If you would like to check the dashboard once each week, the most efficient time to do so (to see the largest amount of the most recent data) is on Friday mornings.
Why did you change the dashboard?
The updated COVID-19 data dashboard focuses on metrics that are most meaningful at this stage in the pandemic response. While we have made continual updates throughout the pandemic, this is the first major re-design since the dashboard launched in March of 2020.
The primary goal of the dashboard update is to provide information that is more concise, meaningful, and practical for community members as they seek to understand and make decisions about their COVID-19 risk. A secondary goal is to streamline the data update process and leverage reliable state and national sources, allowing us to re-allocate staff time to other critical public health needs.
Why are you no longer reporting case numbers, in total or by location?
As unreported home testing becomes the norm, individual case counts confirmed by laboratory-based PCR tests—the central element of many COVID-19 dashboards for much of the pandemic, including our local dashboard—are no longer the most meaningful data point for understanding COVID-19 in the community. While the updated dashboard points to high-level case data to indicate general trends, it shifts the focus to wastewater, hospitalizations, deaths, variants, and vaccination trends.
The new dashboard also puts a focus on local wastewater data. While not a measure of individual cases, wastewater is now an important tool in understanding total impact on a community and whether the detectable amount of virus in a sampling zone is going up, going down, or staying about the same. The dashboard features wastewater data from several locations in SLO County. We are actively working with state and local officials and with Cal Poly on efforts to expand wastewater data to other parts of the county.
How does wastewater testing work?
Environmental monitoring of wastewater is an important tool in understanding the total impact of COVID-19 in our community. In SLO County, we are fortunate to have multiple watershed sites currently performing wastewater monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 at regular intervals. Technicians gather samples from a wastewater treatment facility and the samples are then analyzed in a lab to determine the concentration of virus present. Samples are representative of the area served by the particular treatment plant. Samples may reflect infections among people who have COVID-19 symptoms as well as those who do not have symptoms or are just developing early, mild symptoms and have not yet tested.
While wastewater cannot detect the number of people who are currently infected with COVID-19, it is an indicator of changes in community-level infection. This means that wastewater testing can be used to detect general trends: whether the detectable amount of virus in a sampling zone is going up, going down, or staying about the same.
While wastewater monitoring for disease presence is not a new method (it has been used for nearly 70 years) it is newer to SLO County. Amongst many other things, wastewater monitoring is unbiased, non-invasive, inclusive, inexpensive, and provides insights into changes in community-level infection. Find more information about wastewater monitoring from the California Department of Public Health.
Do your hospital numbers include those hospitalized because of COVID-19 or with COVID-19?
The current dashboard features hospitalization data gathered, reviewed, and reported by the California Department of Public Health. This includes all inpatients who test positive for COVID-19 with laboratory-based (PCR) tests (noted as "positive patients" in the chart above), as well as those who meet clinical criteria to be diagnosed with COVID-19 without laboratory confirmation (noted as "suspected patients" in the chart above). These reports include people who are hospitalized because of their severe COVID-19 illness, those who are hospitalized for multiple reasons including COVID-19, and those who are hospitalized for other reasons and also have COVID-19. In all of these situations, patients who have COVID-19 require additional resources from the hospital. Understanding the total COVID-19 burden on local hospital systems (that is, all cases within a hospital) is now the statewide standard when reporting hospitalizations.
Where can I find the previous COVID-19 dashboard?
The previous dashboard was last updated on September 21, 2022. It can still be found as an archive.
We are working hard to provide the most relevant and meaningful information on the COVID-19 pandemic in SLO County, and we welcome feedback and questions. While we do not have the capacity to provide data in response to each individual request, we appreciate the input and will update the information we provide as resources allow. If you have questions or comments about the data displayed, please contact us.