State takeover of weekly Covid waste-water study will not change procedures

Wastewater treatment plant in Tallinn.
Wastewater treatment plant in Tallinn. Source: Tallinna Vesi

No fundamental changes are planned in the conducting of weekly coronavirus waste-water research after the Health Board (Terviseamet) takes over the project from the University of Tartu, in the new year.

Merli Jõemaa, adviser at the board's environmental health department, said that the monitoring of waste-water, in other words sewage, will: "Continue as usual, while the information will be made public on a weekly basis, in the second half of each week."

Jõemaa added the results will be posted on the board's website.

Up until now, the University of Tartu had published the results and initiated the weekly survey, whose results, barring a break during summer, have been made available most weeks since the fall of 2020, usually on a Friday.

The samples are just one indicator of the current epidemiological picture in Estonia.

On average, samples have been taken from 34 locations nationwide, each week, though these are not all fixed.

"Slightly more than twenty places have been sampled every week, while the rest are taken on a rotational basis … depending on the current epidemiological situation," Jõemaa went on.

The samples portray the current state of the virus, while predictions can only be made if an outbreak occurs at a time and place when the virus is generally not widespread, she added.

As to why the board was taking over from Tartu University, Jõemaa said that the study was not really its responsibility.

"The University of Tartu has developed a monitoring method, but the state must now be able to carry it out," she said.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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