The level of coronavirus is at least average, and in some cases very high, in Estonia's largest cities, the latest results of the wastewater analysis led by the University of Tartu show.
Lead researcher and Professor of Technology of Antimicrobial Compounds of the University of Tartu Tanel Tenson said the situation in Estonia has worsened over the past week and there are no longer any areas with a low concentration of the virus.
"The number of samples with a high concentration of the virus has mostly increased on the account of samples with a low concentration of the virus. The latter have been obtained from only a few smaller places," Tenson explained.
Wastewater samples are collected at the beginning of every week in all Estonian country centres and cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants.
Wastewater analysis supports the Health Board by providing early information to assess the spread of the virus before clinical cases are detected. The monitoring helps to find hidden outbreaks and monitor changes in the dynamics of outbreaks. The Health Board is regularly informed of the results.
The University of Tartu cooperates with the Estonian Environmental Research Centre and water companies operating the water treatment plants of Estonian cities. Wastewater samples are analysed at the laboratories of the University of Tartu Institute of Technology.
For the second week in a row, due to the cold weather, there have been technical issues in the sampling from Tartu, so this result is not included in the overview.
Tenson said: "We have identified the problem and I am hopeful that from the next week, we can again consider the analysis results of the Tartu sample."
For more information, an interactive map and the previous results visit: "Detecting coronavirus in wastewater".
Editor: Helen Wright