Wastewater survey: Coronavirus content has decreased over previous week

Wastewater plant.
Wastewater plant. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The amount of coronavirus particles in wastewater has decreased some compared to last week, results from the most recent round of the Health Board's wastewater survey shows. The virus has spread very widely in the Viimsi-Muuga region near Tallinn.

The Health Board's environmental health department advisor Merli Jõemaa said the largest drop in coronavirus content can be seen in southern Estonia with Valga and Võru now in the "green" (less than 100 viruses per milliliter).

Põlva also saw a drop from "red" (more than 10,000 viruses per milliliter) to "yellow" (101-1,999 viruses per milliliter), meaning there are a moderate number of people infected with the coronavirus in the region. The same can be said for most cities in western Estonia. The coronavirus has spread quite widely in Tallinn.

Jõemaa noted that although there is less coronavirus content in wastewater compared to the week prior, it does not mean that the coronavirus has gone off somewhere. "The picture now looks more like the last weeks of 2021," the Health Board adviser said.

Coronavirus wastewater survery results, January 10-16. Source: Health Board

The Health Board has taken over the wastewater study from the University of Tartu this year, 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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