WUPHD warns signs point to more COVID-19 in the community – Community News
Covid-19

WUPHD warns signs point to more COVID-19 in the community

The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department says it is conducting routine wastewater testing in communities across the district to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that leads to COVID-19. From Bessemer to Copper Harbor, the virus is more commonly found in feces sampled in those communities.

Chief Health Officer Kate Beer says the process is important because it can play a predictive role in guessing when the next wave will come. SARS-CoV-2 can be excreted by humans through their waste for weeks before they start to show symptoms, although the lead time with regard to the Delta mutation is shorter than with previous variants. Another reason to do the tests is to try to measure the level of asymptomatic individuals. They are still infected and may be able to pass the disease on to others, even if they are not sick themselves.

The full press release is below.


As part of an ongoing statewide effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19, the Western Upper Peninsula has partnered with local wastewater monitoring systems to test wastewater samples for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in human feces. Recent routine testing has shown an increasing trend in the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the following communities: Baraga, Bessemer, Chassell, Copper Harbor, Hancock, Houghton, Ironwood, L’Anse, South
Range, Wakefield and Watersmeet. This upward trend is an early indicator that COVID-19 cases are increasing in the community.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, can be detected in wastewater before an increase in positive clinical tests is seen in a community. The virus can be shed in human feces for weeks, including before a person gets sick, while a person is sick, and in people who are not sick but are infected.
Since COVID-19 wastewater monitoring is still a new and evolving area of ​​research, it is more appropriate to track and observe the trends of SARS-CoV-2 detected in wastewater, rather than focusing on the individual data points. Rising virus levels in community wastewater indicate positive cases in the community may increase soon. Visit the Michigan COVID-19 Wastewater Testing Dashboard to view wastewater monitoring data.
The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department is using this new information, along with clinical case data, to make more informed decisions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic response. Based on this data, the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department is increasing public health communications in affected communities, alerting health care providers and gathering housing facilities to prepare for a potential increase in cases, and ramping up testing and vaccination efforts. in the affected areas to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
It is important that residents receive their COVID-19 vaccine and continue to use other preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing, social distancing and wearing face masks in public facilities, to help prevent the transmission of the virus in our community. If you are sick, stay home. If your children are sick, do not send them to school. If you are exposed to a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and you have not been vaccinated, you should stay home and quarantine
for 10 days. Due to the sheer number of positive cases in the community, the Western Peninsula Health Department does not have the capacity to contact all positive individuals. If you test positive for COVID-19, it is your responsibility to inform your close contacts that they have been exposed and should be quarantined.
Note: Due to grant budget and laboratory capacity, not all Western Upper Peninsula communities are monitored. The sheer number of communities with trend increases and spikes in wastewater SARS-CoV-2 levels is a cause for concern and indicates widespread community transmission.