Wastewater testing shows more widespread COVID-19 variants in Kansas, Missouri

Apr 14, 2021

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- As COVID-19 continues to spread in Kansas and Missouri, health departments in both states are focusing efforts on monitoring variants to predict surges in the community.

Researchers are seeing a trend of consistent genetic makeup of COVID-19 variants in wastewater samples.

The second largest plant in Missouri, and one of 70 sites across the state, is the Blue River Wastewater Treatment Plant in Kansas City. Workers have been collecting samples of wastewater at the site weekly since last June of 2020. The samples are effective in predicting trends of COVID-19 cases in the community.


The virus isn’t in the water, but its genetic makeup is detectable.

“Previously, [the signal] was kind of coming and going, but we have some communities where it’s kind of persisted,” said Jeff Wenzel, Chief of the Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

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