Elevated Levels Of COVID-19 Detected At Yuma Wastewater Sites

By Autriya Maneshni
Published: Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - 8:17am
Audio icon Download mp3 (879.85 KB)

The University of Arizona COVID-19 Early Warning Sewage Testing Project detected increased levels of the coronavirus in wastewater testing sites around Yuma County at the end of March. Researchers say the elevated levels mean the public shouldn't be worried, but health officials should stay alert. 

“SARS-CoV-2 is still here; it’s still relevant; it’s still transmitting. Know that and be confident that you can take the right public health measures to keep yourself and the community safe," said Bradley Schmitz, a visiting researcher at the university’s Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture.

The testing in Yuma is the same surveillance system that the university used to test the wastewater at the dorms, Schmitz said. They have multiple collection sites across Yuma to easily detected which region in the county has coronavirus in their sewage water. After the results are collected, researchers alert city officials about the possible presence of the virus, who will then inform the public and initiate any necessary prevention measures. 

Schmitz said because Yuma is a border town, it can sometimes be difficult to understand transmission across communities, but it has done a good job following public safety guidelines. 

Coronavirus Science