Record levels of COVID-19 detected in Des Moines sewers
According to the latest test results, record levels of COVID-19 were detected in metro area wastewater collected just before Thanksgiving.
Send the news: The Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority’s sample collection on Nov. 22 shows coronavirus concentration levels about 9% higher than the previous peak in September.
Why it matters: Wastewater surveillance can be a leading indicator of COVID-19, as not everyone is tested for the virus, according to the CDC.
- Asymptomatic infections emerge in the data. And sewer testing is done independently of health clinics, which rely on community members seeking care.
Situation: According to The New York Times, confirmed COVID-19 infections in Polk County have risen from a seven-day average of 150 in late October to 228 yesterday.
- WRA’s samples detected an increase in COVID-19 concentration in each of the last four samples taken since Nov. 10.
- Meanwhile, Iowa health officials announced yesterday that statewide hospitalizations have surpassed 700, a new annual record.