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COVID-19 Prevalence In Metro Area Wastewater Is Declining After Recent Peak

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- The Metropolitan Council says COVID-19 prevalence in metro area wastewater is declining after a recent peak.

The Metropolitan Council says the data is coming from the Metro treatment plant in St. Paul, which serves a large portion of the seven-county metro area. Reported virus cases in the region correspond to the prevalence of the virus found in wastewater samples.

According to the data, which can be seen here, the viral load in wastewater has been declining since Jan. 9, with the highest peak on Jan. 6. The data is up to date as of Friday.

Screen Shot 2022-01-19 at 7.54.01 AM
The blue line shows the total amount of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in wastewater flowing into the Metro Plant, in millions copies of SARS-CoV-2 RNA (N1 and N2 gene) per person served by the wastewater area, per day. The gray line shows the seven-day moving average number of new reported COVID-19 infections in the seven-county Metro area per 100,000 residents. (credit: Metropolitan Council)

New cases tend to lag wastewater detection trends by about 6 to 8 days. The trend could indicate that the Omicron variant has peaked in the metro area following recent record levels.

In a recent WCCO report, Data Scientist Dr. Curtis Storlie, who works in the Mayo Clinic Kern Center, says right now projections from Mayo's COVID Modeling Team show Minnesota will see its peak of Omicron cases possibly by next week.

Places like New York City and Miami also saw record numbers, but are now having drastic drop offs.

Storlie says it's still important for people to take precautions to prevent additional strain on the healthcare system. He does think a large portion of the population will contract the disease, but does not think it is necessarily inevitable to get it.

In the Twin Cities, requirements of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test for many restaurants and bars went into effect Wednesday.

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