More contagious variant of COVID-19 found to be widespread in Houston wastewater, city health officials say
HOUSTON – The Houston Health Department announced Monday the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7) of the virus that causes COVID-19 was found in most of the city’s wastewater treatment plants. Wastewater samples collected on Feb. 22, detected the U.K. variant at 31 of the city’s 39 wastewater treatment plants. “The prevalence of the U.K. variant in our wastewater shows it’s actively spreading in our city,” said Dr. David Persse, chief medical officer for the city of Houston. People who have COVID-19 shed virus in their feces, regardless of symptoms, the Health Department said. Nine cases of the U.K. variant, one case of the South African variant, two cases of the Brazil variant, and 11 cases of the California variant are currently confirmed in Houston, according to the department’s news release Monday.
Wastewater study in Houston area helps identify COVID-19 outbreaks
HOUSTON – When you think of wastewater treatment plants, you may not think of medical research. But weekly water samples from 39 different Houston area treatment plants are now helping in the fight against the coronavirus. Researchers compare the wastewater data to the daily positivity rates and then monitor trends across Houston. “The key discovery with this project was that the wastewater signal seems to be ahead of the nasal testing data,” Dr. Maresso said. Health officials said overall the Houston area numbers are going down, but in southwest Houston, the numbers are slightly higher.
What the feces? Houston launches new wastewater monitoring program to help slow spread of COVID-19
HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner presented a new initiative Thursday that could serve as a faster method of containing COVID-19. Since May, the Houston Health Department has monitored the wastewater at 38 treatment plants for the presence of the virus. The wastewater monitoring project is a collaboration between the Houston Health Department, Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine. The sewage wastewater is collected at the treatment plan before its process, according to Dr. Lauren Hopkins, of the Houston Health Department. “This will give us that early warning that we may have otherwise missed,” said Dr. David Persse of the Houston Health Department.