Missouri wastewater testing shows several COVID-19 variants in state

Posted at 4:11 PM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 17:11:39-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Several COVID-19 variants are present in Missouri, according to new wastewater monitoring data.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said in a news release Friday that testing revealed the presence of the UK (B.1.1.7), South California (B.1.427/B.1.429), Brazil and South African variants across the state.

Most prevalent, however, was the UK variant, which is believed to transmit more rapidly, the release stated.

Jeff Wenzel, bureau chief of environmental epidemiology, said that some mutations are being seen consistently in certain areas, while other communities have inconsistent results.

“Several reasons could cause this to happen,” Wenzel said in the release. “One possibility is travelers or visitors passing through could be contributing to variation, or person(s) cease shedding after recovery from the infection.”

The “viral load levels” found during testing have remained stable, according to the release, suggesting that “efforts to minimize transmission of the virus are working.”

The collaborative effort between DHSS, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the University of Missouri - Columbia and wastewater operators began in February.