Utah’s Wastewater Shows ‘Very High’ COVID Levels, CDC Reports

Health Officials Urge Utahns to Get Vaccinated as COVID-19 Cases Rise

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Syringes used to administer COVID-19 vaccinations in Utah County. Utah has “very high” levels of COVID-19 in its wastewater, according to a new CDC monitoring dashboard, and public health officials urge everyone to get vaccinated as cases rise.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unveiled a new tool to track the spread of COVID-19 in the country’s wastewater, and the data doesn’t look good for Utah.

Utah is among ten states showing “very high” levels of coronavirus, according to the updated dashboard. These states include Kansas, Arkansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Vermont, Virginia, and North Carolina.

(The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) The CDC’s new National Wastewater Surveillance System dashboard shows Utah has “very high” rates of COVID-19 in its wastewater.

Utah’s levels exceed both the national and regional rates. Analyzing trends in wastewater can show how the disease is circulating in a community, even when people aren’t showing symptoms, and can provide an “early warning” if cases are increasing, according to the CDC.

State health officials stated this week that coronavirus cases in Utah are on the rise. They anticipate that cases and related hospitalizations will continue to increase throughout the winter, as indicated on the Department of Health and Human Services’ revamped respiratory illnesses dashboard. Additionally, flu and RSV cases are on the rise.

Wastewater monitoring sites in the state show that 65.7% have elevated levels of COVID-19, with levels increasing at 5.7% of sites.

“The best time to get an updated COVID-19 vaccine is now to be better protected throughout the winter months,” DHHS said.

The CDC’s National Wastewater Surveillance System was established in September 2020, but these new charts improve on the original ones, as revealed by CDC senior adviser Niall Brennan on X, formerly Twitter.

“It was fun and fast-paced, and my thanks to the incredible team at CDC who willingly ripped up the rule book in the process of making this incredible resource more accessible to a wider audience,” he wrote.

The CDC’s dashboard displays national, regional, and state-level trends, as well as how variants have evolved over time. You can view it at: cdc.gov/nwss/rv/COVID19-nationaltrend.html.


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