Yeager said when a community experiences a sustained increase of fragments from the virus, health districts receive an alert.
Hamilton was flagged for this several weeks ago, and the city’s wastewater facility showed a 10-times increase in possible COVID-19 cases from the week prior. City of Hamilton Health Commissioner Kay Farrar told the Journal-News in November the increase was “very significant” and immediately began planning for a pop-up testing site.
Butler County Health Commissioner Jennifer Bailer said that despite the excitement novel coronavirus vaccines are being administered, “December has been a hard COVID month for Butler County.”
“We shattered daily new case counts on several occasions. Hospitals have sent pleas to ‘stay home’ as they manage ICU occupancy and staffing shortages throughout the region,” she said. “The increase of COVID-19 fragments in the wastewater tells us that spread of the virus is higher than we have previously seen.”
As of Thursday, there have been more than 653,000 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases reported to the state, with 8,828 reported Thursday.
Bailer said the public should remain vigilant in following public health advice on wearing masks, social distancing and hand-washing.
“During this holiday season, when many have plans to gather and spread of the virus is high, our community should be especially vigilant,” she said.