Wastewater testing shows potentially high presence of COVID-19 in Lincoln County
Public health officials in Lincoln County say testing of municipal wastewater there shows a high level of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Oregon State University and the Oregon Health Authority monitor wastewater in dozens of cities for the presence of the coronavirus. Lincoln County was notified last week that testing showed the possible presence of multiple outbreaks in the community.
It’s a concern in part because public health officials don’t know yet if the omicron variant will be as pervasive as previous variants such as delta.
“If it is as bad as the past, then this outbreak that’s happening now could translate in a few weeks to increased hospitalizations," said Susan Trachsel, a spokesperson for Lincoln County Health and Human Services. "And what we want to do is prevent that from happening.”
Trachsel said that as of Tuesday, there were no COVID-related hospitalizations in Lincoln County. She also said there hasn’t been a recent spike in the number of reported cases of COVID-19 in Lincoln County, either. Trachsel thinks that’s because many people with mild cases of the illness either don’t get tested, or use an at-home testing kit.
Trachsel urged urged people who test positive for the virus using an at-home test to notify the public health department in order to help the agency monitor the spread of the virus and to conduct contact-tracing.
Information about public testing events and vaccine clinics is available on the Lincoln County website.