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Coronavirus levels in wastewater remain high

Coronavirus levels in wastewater remain high

The results of the Health Board’s wastewater survey show that levels of coronavirus in the water remain high. The majority of colour-coded marking dots are in orange or red.

Merli Jõemaa, an advisor from the Health Board’s Environmental Health Department,

noted that virus levels are rising across Estonia. ‘Virus levels have increased around Tallinn, notably in the Laagri, Peetri, and Maardu areas. There was also a noticeable increase on the islands, with Kärdla becoming a red zone,’ she explained.  

Virus levels also remain high in South Estonia. ‘Põlva and Valga have now reached orange level. Both Elva and Jõgeva are in the red, while Tartu remains in the red for the second week running,’ explained Jõemaa, adding that Ahtme had been added to Ida-Viru County as a red zone.

‘Given that nationwide infection levels continue to rise, it is not surprising that the results for wastewater are also worsening,’ Jõemaa added. The infection rate over the past fourteen days has been rising at an average of 64% in all counties. The increase in the number of infections continues.

At the beginning of this year, the Health Board took over the work of testing wastewater for coronavirus from the University of Tartu. The aim of the University of Tartu’s initial work was to develop a SARS-CoV-2 effluent monitoring system and method. The method, having been developed and tested, was handed over to the Health Board so that, in future, all wastewater testing and studies can be carried out at the Health Board’s Laboratory of Infectious Diseases.

Instead of the previous sixty samples being collected each week, an average of thirty-four samples will be collected by the Estonian Environmental Research Centre on behalf of the Health Board. There will be no further changes to the content of the monitoring process. The Health Board will continue to publish the results from its wastewater sampling procedures in the same way as before, and all of the information will be visually displayed on a monitoring map which will be available on the Health Boards website.

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