Despite the rapid spread of the omicron strain, the amount of coronavirus in wastewater remains stable and the new strain of the virus has not yet emerged as the dominant variant in Estonia, the results of the most recent wastewater analysis show.
Tanel Tenson, the lead researcher of the study and professor of the technology of antimicrobial compounds at the University of Tartu, said on Friday (December 24) the results remained largely unchanged from the previous week.
The levels of the virus in wastewater samples from Estonia's larger urban settlements predominantly continue to be stable.
"While we have received reports during the week of numerous outbreaks caused by the omicron strain in South Estonia, also there the overall level of the virus remains quite unchanged. We have seen the extensive spread of the omicron strain in wastewater already in the last couple of weeks. In the last week, more of the strain has been found in Tartu, Pärnu, and Rapla, but this strain has not yet become prevalent anywhere," Tenson said.
The most recent study (link in Estonian) was carried out between December 20-24.
Samples are collected at the beginning of every week in all Estonian county centers, cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants and, if necessary, in smaller settlements.
The study helps the Health Board monitor changes in the outbreak dynamics and discover hidden outbreaks. It gives early information to estimate the spread of the virus before clinical cases are detected.
Editor: Helen Wright