COVID virus being found in
Sanpete County wastewater
By Robert Stevens
MORONI—New data from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) shows the virus that causes COVID-19 is being found in Sanpete County wastewater.
The DEQ is collecting sewage samples from 42 sewage treatment plants in Utah, representing approximately 80 percent of the state population.
In Sanpete County, the DEQ is testing wastewater from both Moroni and Gunnison. Between the two cities, despite the fact that Gunnison has more than twice the people as Moroni—even higher when you include the population at the Central Utah Correctional Facility—the data from the DEQ shows Moroni has more samples of the virus in its wastewater per capita.
The organization is testing for SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, which is shed in feces by infected individuals. According to the DEQ, a sample is collected at the inlet of sewage treatment plants and the information gathered from the sample provides an indicator of the local status and trends of COVID-19 infections in the communities served by the treatment plant.
According to the DEQ data, the Moroni wastewater treatment plant, which is co-owned by Moroni City and Pitman Family Farms, has a trend which indicates increasing amounts of virus traces.
In contrast, the Gunnison sewer plant, which serves both Gunnison City and Centerfield, registers as having the virus present in the sewage sample, but not upward or downward trend in the amount.
Of all the counties in the Central Utah Public Health Department, Sanpete County currently has the most confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 216; of those, 31 are confirmed active. There are currently three hospitalizations in Sanpete for COVID-19, and one person has died.
Millard County is next in the district for cases with 190 confirmed, 31 of which active and two are hospitalized.
Juab County has 136 confirmed cases, 20 of which are active and two are hospitalized. Juab County has had one COVID death.
Sevier County has 111 confirmed cases, 15 of which are active. Sevier County has had one COVID death.
Piute County has had only eight confirmed cases, two of which are active. Wayne County’s only two cases have been recovered for more than two months now.
The health district has tested 15,758 people for COVID so far, 663 of which were confirmed positive.