Earlier this month, Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced that state resources would shift from treating COVID-19 as a pandemic to endemic, ceasing the operation of the Department of Health’s COVID website. However, DHSS’s Sewershed site continues to be updated. KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro has more.
With daily COVID case counts no longer available through the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website, the public is left to track the severity of the virus through information hospitals provide or DHSS’s Sewershed Surveillance Program.
The website is updated weekly with information regarding COVID-19 viral load in the wastewater of more than 100 participating community water systems in Missouri. As of Tuesday, the site showed that viral loads increased by 40% or more from the previous week in areas around St. Louis, Kansas City, and Clinton. In southwest Missouri, 19 participating wastewater plants show no change or decreased COVID viral load.
The genetic material from the virus can be present in human waste even when individuals have no symptoms. Twenty-eight states currently track COVID-19 in wastewater, exceptions include Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma.