Wastewater study results show continued deterioration of the situation

This week’s results of the wastewater study led by the University of Tartu confirm a continued spread of the coronavirus. In the coming weeks, the number of infections is expected to rise in both southern and western Estonia.

According to the leader of the wastewater research, Professor of Technology of Antimicrobial Compounds of the University of Tartu Tanel Tenson, the results show an evenly high spread of the virus across Estonia. “While in the previous weeks, the number of the infected was large primarily in North Estonia, the results of this week indicate that the virus has spread southward, so these regions need to be prepared for the worsening of the situation,” Tenson explained.

This week, the samples from Paide and Valga could not be used and are not reflected on the map. “However, when we look at the samples taken from the nearby areas, the situation is serious everywhere. Never before has the average reading for Estonia been so high,” Tenson said.

Wastewater samples are collected 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.

When collecting the samples, the University of Tartu cooperates with the Estonian Environmental Research Centre and water companies operating the water treatment plants of Estonian cities. Wastewater 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, University of Tartu, 5344 5202, tanel.tenson@ut.ee