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.
The latest samples show a sharp increase in the amount of #COVID19 virus in #Houston’s wastewater.— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) December 29, 2021
The virus load is now 546% of the baseline, up from 142% last week, and 76% the previous week.
Get vaccinated, boosted, and wear a mask.
Dashboard: https://t.co/EIpXzW4dut pic.twitter.com/dt9rUnybm3
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.