Yosemite has no confirmed coronavirus cases, but its sewage tells a different story

To date, there have been no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Yosemite National Park. Analysis of the park's raw sewage, however, shows the virus is no stranger to the highland paradise.

Working with the National Park Service, Mariposa County health officials began taking samples of untreated wastewater and sent it to a lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for analysis. The lab, Biobot Analytics, told the county this week based on how much of the virus they counted, it's possible about 170 people were infected in Yosemite Valley. Eric Sergienko, the county's health officer who is overseeing coronavirus testing in the Yosemite area, attributed the emergence of the coronavirus in Yosemite to the region's many visitors. He said its presence will not likely lead to policy changes because the park is already following local and state restrictions. — KCRA

Sergienko said it’s a reminder to be vigilant and to take the matter seriously.

Experts believe raw sewage analysis is one of the most promising ways to gauge the virus’ prevalence in a particular area. It can alert health officials to the presence of the virus before an outbreak.

“The earlier you find [a signal], the earlier an intervention can happen," researcher and doctor Andrew Singer told the BBC. "That means lives will be made much more liveable in the current crisis."



Monday, July 27, 2020 - 15:51

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