JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.– Missouri health officials say low levels of a South California COVID variant have now been found in sewage samples taken from across the state. State officials stress there is no clear association with increasing human cases of variant viruses in the state.
Recently, Missouri revealed that low levels of the UK COVID variant were also found in sewage samples.
There have been no reported cases of the South California variant. Missouri did report one confirmed case of the UK variant in northeast Missouri on February 6.
State health officials say new information out of California this week suggests the variants may be more infectious than previous commonly circulating variants in the United States.
The California variant has been found in 40% to 50% of samples examined by the Los Angeles Count Department of Public Health, according to Director Barbara Ferrer. But there isn’t enough rigorous research to determine what, if any, effect its mutations might have.
Missouri is one of the first states to use sewage analysis to study the prevalence of the COVID-19 virus as well as existing and emerging variants.
The CDC is most concerned about the UK, South African and Brazilian variants right now. However, the state of Missouri is looking for those variants as well as the South California variant in the water samples.