Where we stand as LSU officials report uptick of COVID-19 in wastewater

Baton Rouge is one of the many cities around the world that have been testing wastewater samples for COVID-19.
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 6:25 AM CDT

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Baton Rouge is one of the many cities around the world that have been testing wastewater samples for COVID-19.

Dr. John Pardue, LSU Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor work closely with sampling. He said they’re seeing an increase of COVID-19 in the East Baton Rouge Parish and LSU wastewater.

After the omicron surge left in the winter, Pardue said numbers were low. More recently, numbers got higher than they were in the second and third surge of COVID that happened in 2020.

He’s not exactly sure what triggered this as there were many big events like Jazz Fest, the Garth Brooks concert and now graduations all over the state.

Officials said this is concerning but have a message they want to share.

“I think as you continue to see it go up, we’ll be communicating that and I’m sure the parish and others will as well,” said Dr. Pardue. “And I think people have to do the thing they know how to do. We’re not talking about locking down, we’re talking about vaccination, boosters be careful when you’re in indoor spaces that don’t have great ventilation.”

He also said to be careful around your older relatives.

LSU has been named a Center of Excellence for Wastewater Epidemiology. They continue to work closely with the mayor’s office and share data weekly.

“It’s something that we need to be aware of to look out for,” said Dr. Ramesh Subramanian, an Associate Professor of Research at LSU School of Veterinary Medicine Division of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine. “Definitely try to mask up a bit more. We are able to show that wastewater surveillance can provide up to a seven to ten-day lead in determining spikes in COVID cases.”

Officials said they are going to continue wastewater testing as it can be used to test things like RSV and the flu.

Pardue said it’s a way for people to resume activities in an educated way.

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