Wastewater survey: The rate of coronavirus has increased considerably

Sampling at a water treatment plant.
Sampling at a water treatment plant. Source: Osoon/ERR

This week's wastewater study results show that the amount of coronavirus in Estonia has significantly increased since last week, the Health Board announced on Friday. Almost 75 percent of the samples tested positive for the coronavirus.

The study results show a considerable increase in the amount of coronavirus after the holiday period and the risk of spread is high all over Estonia, Health Board environmental health department adviser Merli Jõemaa said.

"The past few weeks have brought new infection records across the world and infections are also in an upward trend in Estonia," Jõemaa added.

Wastewater study results for January 3 - January 7. Most major cities in Estonia have high coronavirus rates, the situation is somewhat better in smaller cities. Source: Health Board

The Health Board has taken over the wastewater study from the University of Tartu, although the university's researchers will still be retained as advisers. An average of 34 samples are taken each week, down from 60 when the University of Tartu would conduct the studies.

The samples of wastewater – sewage, to be more precise – are taken at all population centers with more than 10,000 inhabitants, and some smaller centers where needed.

The readings reflect the situation of wastewater passing through a treatment plant over the preceding 24 hours, giving a reliable overview of the infection level in that town or city, whereas spot checks conducted at smaller towns reflect the situation at the moment of sampling. Since these are more likely to be affected by other factors, data over several weeks is required, to indicate trends.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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