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Wastewater samples show rise in Pueblo West COVID-19 cases

Pueblo West wastewater shows rise in Coronavirus between Dec. 15-17
Posted at 12:09 PM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-07 11:04:19-05

PUEBLO WEST — Data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment shows Pueblo West with a large spike in COVID-19 cases in December.

According to the chart, copies of the virus in wastewater samples increased from over 147,000 on Dec. 15 to over 300,000 on Dec. 17.

The CDPHE last updated the wastewater sample data on Dec. 30, according to the site.
The chart tracking cases of COVID-19 in Pueblo West wastewater samples between Nov. 3 and Dec. 17

As far as why the number of copies jumped dramatically within 24 hours, the wastewater plant that gathers the samples does not have an explanation.

“Take some of that," said Manager of the Pueblo West Wastewater Plant George Reichert, referring to the water samples. "Put it in little vials and then send it off to the lab, to where they then takeover from that point on. Our part in this process is just that very beginning.”

Samantha Dosen, Public Information Officer for Pueblo West Metro District, explained why the city is unable to make speculations as to why the number of copies rose.

“Our process in it and where we specialize is just waste water," said Dosen. "We’re just helping with the treatment and testing of those. So... we are unable to really understand COVID or the process that would make it go up or to speculate why these numbers would be on the rise.”

In August, Pueblo became one of the communities to test wastewater for COVID-19. The program's goal is to stay ahead of the virus by detecting potential outbreaks as early as possible. In December, Pueblo announced a new alert system that would notify neighborhoods about increases of Coronavirus in the area, but that alert system is not applicable to Pueblo West. They are still only receiving notifications from the state.

The state's health department is yet to respond for News 5's inquiry about the spike in copies.