Wastewater monitoring detects increase of COVID-19 in western U.P. communities

Western UP

WESTERN UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) – According to the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD), recent routine wastewater testing has shown an increasing trend in the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, also known as COVID-19.

WUPHD is partnered with local wastewater monitoring systems to test wastewater samples for the presence of COVID-19 in human feces. The recent testing has shown an increase of COVID-19 in Baraga, Bessemer, Chassell, Copper Harbor, Hancock, Houghton, Ironwood, L’Anse, South Range, Wakefield, and Watersmeet. This upward trend is an early indicator that COVID-19 cases in the community are increasing.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is the virus that causes COVID-19 disease, can be detected in wastewater before an increase in positive clinical tests is seen in a community. The virus can be shed in human feces for weeks, including before a person becomes ill, while a person is ill, and in people who are not ill but are infected, according to WUPHD.

The rising levels of the virus in the community wastewater indicates positive cases in the community may soon be on the rise. To view wastewater monitoring data, visit the Michigan COVID-19 Wastewater Testing Dashboard.

For more information on wastewater monitoring, visit the Wastewater Surveillance for COVID-19 website. Information about national COVID-19 wastewater surveillance efforts by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be found at the National Wastewater Surveillance System website.

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