Latest samples show sharp increase in amount of COVID in Houston wastewater

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The latest wastewater samples from the city of Houston are revealing how prevalent COVID-19 is in the community right now.

With the rapid transmission of the omicron variant, Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a tweet Wednesday morning that the samples show there has been a sharp increase in the amount of virus in the city's wastewater.

According to the Houston Health Department's dashboard, the viral load as of Dec. 20 is at 546% compared to where it was more than a year ago on July 6, 2020.

The viral load is the amount of virus detected in the wastewater. The number displays the value for the city as a whole compared to the benchmark date of July 6.

The city uses that date because it corresponds to a time when the city was experiencing high COVID-19 positivity rates.

Houston's current positivity rate is at 14% and represents the rate of positive cases over total testing.

Turner says the viral load is up from 142% last week and 76% from the previous week.



Local officials and health experts continue to urge getting vaccinated, or if you already are, getting a booster shot and wearing a mask as ways to protect you and your family from COVID-19.

If you need to get tested for COVID, two new mega sites are also reopening.

CDC COVID-19 Transmission Levels by U.S. County

Map not displaying correctly? Click here to open in a new window.
Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.