High levels of coronavirus in waste water almost everywhere in Estonia

The most recent results of the waste water analysis by the University of Tartu indicate that the number of waste water samples with a high concentration of coronavirus has increased even more since last week. The waste water index illustrating the overall situation in Estonia confirms the increased spread of the virus.

Virus concentration was found to be high in 17 out of 20 larger sampling sites. According to the leader of the study, Professor of Technology of Antimicrobial Compounds of the University of Tartu Tanel Tenson, the number of smaller places with an average level of the virus has also increased during the week. “In short, we can see high levels of virus in all Estonian counties. The upward trend that started at the beginning of February is continuing throughout the country. The increase seems to be somewhat slower, but whether this slowing down continues can be seen in the next week’s results,” explained Tenson.

Waste water samples are collected at the beginning of every week in all Estonian county centres and cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants. The study is a tool supporting the Health Board by providing early information to assess the spread of the virus before clinical cases are detected. The monitoring helps to find hidden outbreaks and monitor changes in the dynamics of outbreaks. The Health Board is regularly informed of the results.

In the collection of samples, the University of Tartu cooperates with the Estonian Environmental Research Centre and water companies operating the water treatment plants of Estonian cities. Waste water samples are analysed at the laboratories of the University of Tartu Institute of Technology.

For more information and the interactive map with the previous results of the study, see the home page of the study “Detecting coronavirus in waste water”.

Further information: Tanel Tenson, Professor of Technology of Antimicrobial Compounds of the University of Tartu, tanel.tenson@ut.ee, 5344 5202