Covid up in Burlington wastewater, mayor predicts tough weeks ahead

The first readings from the City of Burlington’s Covid-19 Wastewater Monitoring Program since the Thanksgiving holiday show a significantly higher prevalence of the virus in Burlington, Mayor Miro Weinberger said Thursday.

The readings are based on only one sampling at each of the City’s three wastewater treatment plants after Thanksgiving, Weinberger said. All three plants show the same significant upward trend, More sampling will be conducted to confirm the readings. But given the potential consequence of the elevated levels, Weinberger released the information immediately. 

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger

“The days matter in our response to this pandemic,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “We must remember that it’s in our collective power to bring this surge back down. We need everyone to cease social gatherings outside of your household and to get tested if you have participated in a social gathering over the last week.”

Wastewater surveillance for Covid-19 is a leading indicator, and increased levels of Covid-19 RNA can show up in wastewater monitoring up to seven days earlier than testing results. 

As case numbers have grown in recent weeks, the State and the City have been intently focused on expanding testing availability.  

“Though these numbers suggest that the weeks ahead may be tough ones, the vaccine coming means that there’s a light at the end of this tunnel,” said Mayor Weinberger. “This pandemic won’t last forever – but we need to come together for a final push to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors.”

The mayor will hold a press conference at 2 pm today to give holiday shopping direction to businesses and shoppers. “Burlington’s locally owned businesses face an existential threat as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the mayor’s office announced. “Today, Mayor Weinberger and local leaders will discuss how Burlingtonians who are able to can participate in the economic relief and recovery, and safely patronize the downtown stores and restaurants where many of our neighbors work.”