U.K. COVID variant found in 13 wastewater systems across Missouri

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ST. LOUIS – The fast-spreading U.K. variant of the coronavirus has been found in wastewater samples taken from areas across Missouri according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

But they did say, the U.K. variant was “not highly prevalent” in the wastewater samples. Dr. Randall Williams, the director of the state health department, said this discovery makes it clear that the variant is more widespread in Missouri and across the country than what has been detected by testing. 

So far, there has been only one confirmed case of the U.K. variant of the coronavirus in Missouri. That was found in Marion County in northeast Missouri on February 6. Health officials have said contact tracing has not associated that case with any other cases. However, state officials have found the variant in various locations throughout Missouri based on continued wastewater surveillance.

The most recent CDC data reveals that there are now more than 1,500 cases of the U.K. variant in 32 states including Missouri. Health experts say the U.K. variant spreads more easily than other COVID-19 variants. It could be associated with an increased risk of death but more research is needed.

The Post-Dispatch reported that the variant was detected in more than 13 wastewater systems throughout Missouri.

State health officials told FOX 2 the variant is in St. Louis area wastewater systems but at extremely low levels of less than one percent. 

The most recent CDC data reveals that there are now more than 1,600 cases of the U.K. variant in 44 states. While Missouri has one confirmed case of the U.K. variant, the CDC reports 43 confirmed cases in Illinois. 

St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page will held a briefing on the state of the coronavirus in the area at 8:30 a.m.

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