COVID-19 levels rise in water tested in sewers
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Data from sewage treatment plants in southern Nevada shows coronavirus levels at record highs, according to researchers at UNLV and the Southern Nevada Water Authority.
Scientists at UNLV first discovered the variant in sewage samples last month, Dr. Edwin Oh, associate professor at the Neurogenetics and Precision Medicine Laboratory, told the I-Team. school.
Scientists at the Southern Nevada Water Authority are taking wastewater samples to see the amount of coronavirus in our sewage system. Oh and other researchers are analyzing the samples, which helps public health officials find peaks and clusters before they can be identified by traditional testing methods.
Coronavirus levels have skyrocketed in recent weeks, data from Oh suggests. The highest levels were found in samples during the last week of 2021.
The omicron variant is also taking over for delta as the dominant variant in circulation, Oh said.
The coronavirus mainly affects our lungs, but the virus also causes secondary infections of the gastrointestinal tract. As the virus replicates and is eliminated from our body, certain identifiable factors appear in our waste.
Monitoring the wastewater will help scientists determine how omicron may mutate over the coming months and weeks, Oh said.
Clark County reported 3,363 cases – the highest number in the pandemic on Friday. Saturday’s report showed the second highest on record, with 3,261 cases in the county. The county reported 2,985 cases on Sunday – the third highest daily total.
Including Monday, the four-day total stands at 11,467 COVID-19 cases in Clark County alone. Statewide, the four-day total was 12,443. Overall, the county had more than 92% of the reported cases in Nevada.
Test positivity rates have increased dramatically to 14.1 county (from 11.1% last week) and 12.6% statewide (from 10.1% last week).
The omicron variant now accounts for just over a quarter of all cases in Clark County, according to data from the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory.
Hospitalizations jumped to 1,006 statewide, including 890 in Clark County.
Governor Steve Sisolak delivered a message to Nevadans as the high number of cases arrived on Monday:
“Today we are seeing an alarming number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations reported after the year-end vacation. My team continues to analyze the numbers and we are working with health districts and other partners to provide resources to tackle the wave we are facing, ”said Sisolak.
“Nevadans – we have the resources to fight this pandemic, keep businesses and schools open, and help reduce the number of cases,” he said.
Wastewater data usually follow a few days before case totals.