The highly contagious variant of the omicron coronavirus has spread across much of Missouri, according to sewage analysis data released on Friday.
The variant has now been detected at low levels at 15 of 63 testing sites, including St. Louis, Kansas City, Jefferson City, Columbia, Branson, St. Joseph, Union, Clinton, Warrensburg and Fulton, said Jeff Wenzel, who oversees the wastewater monitoring program for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
âI’m sorry I didn’t have better news on Christmas Eve,â Wenzel said.
He said the latest data shows the results of genetic sequencing carried out on samples that were collected the week of December 13. Samples collected a week earlier detected the variant in just two treatment centers, one in St. Joseph and the other in Kansas. City area.
Wenzel said delta remains the dominant strain for now, but the future is unclear.
âWhen we went from alpha to delta the alpha cases were going down, so delta took over quickly,â he said. âI don’t know what it’s going to look like because we have an increase in delta cases. Now with omicron arriving, I’m not sure if we will see a similar situation, where omicron will overshoot delta, or if we will see some of both. I think the general consensus is that omicron will take over. “
Nationally, omicron accounts for 73% of new infections, federal health officials said on Monday.
The announcement that omicron has spread to more communities comes just a day after St. Louis County health officials reported an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases and made a desperate appeal to the public for that he mask himself, be vaccinated and reconsider the gatherings.
The Missouri Department of Health and Seniors’ Services reminded on Twitter Friday that outdoor gatherings are safer.
The seven-day moving average of daily new cases in Missouri fell from 2,790.43 new cases per day on Dec. 8 to 3,133.71 new cases per day on Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.