Boston officials report elevated virus levels in wastewater

October 8, 2022 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — Boston health officials said Friday they’re concerned about elevated levels of the coronavirus in the city’s wastewater.

The concentration of the virus in local wastewater has increased by 3.1% over the past week and by nearly 100% over the past two weeks, according to new data from this week from the Boston Public Health Commission.

New COVID-19 cases in Boston have decreased slightly over the past week, though the data does not include positive results from at-home tests, the commission said. Boston hospitals had 170 new hospital admissions related to COVID-19 this week.

Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, the public health commissioner, said the elevated concentration in the wastewater is “very concerning” because increases in COVID-19 related hospitalizations, combined with flu season, will cause “major strain” on Boston’s health care system.

Ojikutu said it’s important to try to get ahead of this, and recommended that people get booster shots and flu shots, wear a mask indoors, get tested for COVID-19 and isolate if they test positive to help reduce transmission. Nearly 79% of Boston residents are fully vaccinated.

The commission began noticing elevated coronavirus levels in the wastewater in late September.