Houston COVID-19: Sewage shows surge in Houston cases

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — The city of Houston is surveying wastewater at 39 treatment plants to determine how widespread COVID-19 is in the city.

Current readings show a positivity rate of 11%, with many areas of the city trending upwards in positive cases.

“We are seeing a steady increase in the amount of COVID in wastewater,” said Dr. Linda Yancey, an infectious disease specialist at Memorial Hermann Health System. “We’re not exactly sure why we’re having another surge after a nice little lull.”

Yancey says the strain of COVID that’s floating around right now is Omicron and its variants, which she says are more contagious but less severe than previous variants.

“It causes much less severe illness than Delta did last year,” Yancey said. “It mostly causes upper respiratory symptoms.”

Yancey says COVID strains attacking the lungs are leading to more hospitalizations and deaths, although she warned it’s not uncommon for omicron to send patients to the hospital.

“We’re not seeing a huge increase in hospitalizations — other than that, we absolutely have people in hospitals right now, and we absolutely have COVID patients on ventilators,” Yancey explained. “But nowhere near the numbers we had when we looked at the delta rise.”

So what’s Yancey’s outlook for the summer months? It’s pretty positive, but she did include the possibility that things are about to change.

“We expect to see an increase in cases, but we don’t anticipate an increase,” she said. “Now there could be a new variant around the corner and all bets will be void if that happens.”

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https://abc13.com/houston-wastewater-covid-strain-omicron/11909590/ Houston COVID-19: Sewage shows surge in Houston cases

Dais Johnston

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