BOZEMAN — Wastewater testing may lead to sporadic results, but no cause for alarm. The Gallatin Health Department has partnered with several different laboratories, including Archer Biologicals, to regularly test if there is a positive sample in the area.
“Locally, our wastewater data is not raising any red flags. There are a few locations that have seen a little bit of an increase and some that we have seen a little bit of a decrease. Right now, it’s all about matching our cases,” Lori Christenson said.
Christenson is the Health Officer for the Gallatin City-County Health Department and goes on to explain that wastewater data can be used as an indicator. For instance, if there is a community with no current COVID cases, but positive samples begin to appear in the wastewater this could mean that cases are likely to appear.
Christenson goes on to explain how the county will continue to track this data, as another resource for coronavirus research and tools.
Archer Biologicals is one of the laboratories that the Gallatin City-County Health Department is utilizing in their wastewater research.
Heather Grifka-Walk, PhD, is the owner of Archer Biologicals and notes the nature of the virus in the wastewater.
“It has been a wild ride in the last few weeks, there will be weeks where (COVID samples) almost drops off completely…and then the week right after that it will spike really high,” Grifka-Walk said.
The nature of the ‘disappearing’ and ‘reappearing’ samples in the wastewater is difficult to explain; however, with more people getting vaccinated there may be a correlation to a steady fall in cluster samples, Grifka-Walk said.
Summer tourism is still booming throughout the valley and Grifka-Walk notes that this may be another reason that samples change week to week.
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