Wastewater samples show UK COVID variant present across Missouri; levels remain stable

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.– Samples from watersheds across Missouri now show the UK variant of COVID-19 is present in all tested areas of the state, however, the levels remain relatively stable.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and others have been testing watersheds to spot trends with the virus.

In the February and March reports, it found the UK COVID variant was present in sewage samples in some locations across the state.

The testing now suggests the UK COVID variant is present in all areas tested across the state. The latest report also says the UK strain is a variant of concern in part due to evidence of its increased transmissibility.

The latest update does point out that even though these mutations are present, the viral load levels remain relatively stable. The stability suggests efforts to minimize transmission of the virus are working.

Courtesy: Sewershed Surveillance Project

In the St. Louis metro area, of the 10 waste water treatment plants providing data, 7 of them saw no change in viral load, two saw decreasing viral load, and one saw an increase.

The increase was at the wastewater treatment plant that serves St. Louis City, parts of north and south St. Louis County. You can see The Sewershed Surveillance Project map here.

The health department is still stressing the importance of continued testing, vaccinations, and adherence to local recommendations to stop the spread of the virus.

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