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COVID strains rising in Burlington’s wastewater

Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 11:00 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 5:38 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - COVID-19 strains are on the rise in Burlington’s wastewater, including a variant detected now in the New North End.

“It’s not surprising to see a higher number of cases and a greater preponderance of the variant mutations in our samples by late March,” said Brian Lowe, Burlington’s chief innovation officer,

Earlier this year, the CDC said that the U.K. strain would become the most prevalent variant by March. It’s known to be more infectious and more deadly.

Lowe says the strain is more prevalent across Burlington, most so in the east wastewater district.

“Over the last week-and-a-half, two weeks, we have been seeing the beginning of a rising trend across the city really. That rising trend is concentrated on the east of the city that serves UVM campus and some residential areas on the east side of the city,” he said.

Vermont health officials last week confirmed that genomic sequencing also detected the so-called California variant. The B.1.429 variant was detected in three specimens found in samples from Chittenden and Franklin counties.

A third variant, from Brazil, was detected recently in New York, however, Burlington does not have the ability to test for it at the moment.

City officials remind people to stay vigilant and continue to take the proper precautions against the virus.

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