Coronavirus wastewater levels consistently high across Estonia

Kuressaare, Saaremaa.
Kuressaare, Saaremaa. Source: Government Communications Office.

Coronavirus has spread across Estonia so extensively that regional differences are no longer apparent, the results of the University of Tartu's latest wastewater study show. The virus has also spread to the western islands.

Lead researcher of the study, Professor of Technology of Antimicrobial Compounds of the University of Tartu Tanel Tenson said the situation is uniformly bad everywhere in Estonia.

"As of this week, there are almost no settlements left in Estonia where coronavirus cannot be found. We find relatively high levels of the virus in spot samples from even the smallest of settlements, which shows that the spread of the virus is quite uncontrolled," said Tenson.

Moreover, high coronavirus content is also found in the analysis results of samples from western Estonia and the larger islands, where the situation remained better for a long time. 

This time, the map does not include the result of the sample collected from the city of Pärnu, because the wastewater there contained too many additives to allow analysis.

The study helps the Health Board monitor changes and discover hidden outbreaks. It gives early information for estimating the spread of the virus before clinical cases are detected.

Results of the survey on November 1-5. Source: University of Tartu

How are the samples collected? 

Wastewater samples are collected at the beginning of every week in all county centers, cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants, and, if necessary, in smaller settlements. 

Samples taken from larger cities reflect the situation of wastewater passing through the treatment plant over 24 hours, giving a reliable overview of the infection level in the city.  


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Editor: Helen Wright

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