COVID-19 once again detected in Watertown’s wastewater


This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

WATERTWON, N.Y. (WWTI) — The coronavirus has once again been detected in local wastewater sources.

On Friday, Jefferson County Public Health Service issued a public statement, confirming that there have been quantifiable traces of COVID-19 detected in all City of Watertown wastewater sources. Specifically, this was detected in samples submitted on August 17. The samples confirmed that quantifiable COVID-19 was present in influent points A and B of the city’s wastewater facility.

To detect for the virus in wastewater, JCPHS previously formed a partnership with the City of Watertown to submit wastewater specimens to Quadrant Biosciences in Syracuse. The City has been testing wastewater on a weekly basis to determine COVID-19 prevalence in the city and surrounding community.

The City of Watertown’s wastewater treatment facility services approximately 55,000 people. Quantifiable traces of the virus were also detected in the City’s wastewater on November 18, 2020, prior to a surge in cases during the holiday season.

“These reports, in line with the spike in cases currently happening in Jefferson County, demonstrate a
significant presence of virus, support the increase in transmissions currently happening, and are a
prediction of further increased cases and hospitalizations over the next 7-14 days,” JCPHS said in a press release.

As designated by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, Jefferson County remains an area of “substantial” community transmission. This means that there are over 50 COVID cases per 100,000 residents. As of August 18, the county had 73.75 cases per 100,000 residents, which is 84.09% increase in the past seven days.

Public Health officials are now urging all residents to follow and practice CDC guidance, which includes COVID-19 vaccination, masking when indoors in public, distancing and disinfecting.

Residents are also urged to stay home if COVID-19 symptoms are presented and seek testing. COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomitting, diarrhea.

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