Lewis and Clark Public Health reports unprecedented rise in COVID-19 found in wastewater samples

Lewis and Clark Public Health
Posted at 3:15 PM, Aug 09, 2021

HELENA — On Monday, Lewis and Clark Public Health announced that wastewater samples showed large amounts of COVID-19.

Officials say the data from Helena shows an 1100% increase from last week.

Data from the report shows that on July 26 there were about 16,000 copies of the virus per liter. One week later that number rose to about 193,000 copies of the virus per liter. Public health reports the previous high from wastewater samples was in early December when researchers recorded 63,000 copies of the virus.

Leaders say the most recent results indicate individuals have been infected but have not been tested.

The number has public health leaders urging the community to use caution when out in public. That includes strict physical distancing, masks in public indoor spaces, avoiding large gatherings, getting vaccinated and getting tested when sick.

The findings come as the seven day average of daily new cases has risen significantly. Daily new COVID cases in the county hovered between two and six for most of June and July. But have risen to high teens and low 20's at the end of July and beginning of August.

As of Monday Lewis and Clark Co. had 164 active cases with three active hospitalizations. The level of community transmission is considered "high."

According to county health statistics, 57 percent of eligible county residents are considered fully vaccinated. The county reports that of the 7,308 COVID-19 cases 41 have been breakthrough cases.

Lewis and Clark Public Health partner's with Carroll College for wastewater testing.