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Cases of the Covid-19 Delta variant are continuing to show up in this gross yet telling place in Minnesota. So why is that?

We've heard how the Delta variant has been super active in Minnesota right now, continuing to cause outbreaks and straining health resources across the state. And one of the most telling places health officials can tell that the variant is still active in the Land of 10,000 Lakes is in our wastewater.

The fact that health officials, scientists, and other researchers have been searching wastewater in the Bold North for signs of Covid isn't new. In fact, the University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) wrote about an agreement last November here in Rochester to do just that. UMR noted Rochester Public Works was partnering with Olmsted County Public Health, Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota Rochester to seek advanced notice of potential coronavirus outbreaks in wastewater here in the Med City.

And now, according to the University of Minnesota in this KARE 11 story, signs of the Delta variant are at an all-time high in wastewater here in Minnesota.

"In terms of measuring the virus in wastewater, we're not seeing a downturn," Dr. Tim Schacker, vice dean of research for the University of Minnesota Medical School, said in the story. "It has not come down at all. In fact, it's at the highest level we've ever seen it."

But, the story also notes that thanks to the increasing number of Minnesotans who are fully vaccinated, the uptick in the Delta variant in wastewater doesn't necessarily mean things will get as bad as they did last fall.

Much of the evidence of Covid in wastewater in Minnesota right now, the story noted, can be likely traced to those who are asymptomatic-- who might have the virus yet not even know it. But it all shows up in the water we flush down the drain.

There's just a lot of people who are infected and shedding the virus who don't have as many symptoms and they can be shedding (the virus). So I think, what we're seeing is just a shift in the way the pandemic is playing out," Dr. Schacker said in the story.

And according to recent wastewater findings, it doesn't look like the Delta variant is going away soon. Either way, I'm thankful that our health officials and scientists are trying to keep a handle on what's going on with the Covid outbreak. And I'm even MORE thankful that it's not ME who has to analyze all that wastewater!

Listen to Curt St. John in the Morning
weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. on Quick Country 96.5

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