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Wastewater Testing For COVID-19 In Southwest Montana Tracks Baseline Illness

The entrance sign for West Yellowstone.
Spend A Day Touring LLC
Flickr (CC BY SA2)
The entrace sign for West Yellowstone.

Health officials say the results from wastewater sampling in West Yellowstone align with five new COVID-19 cases.

On a press call on June 4, Gallatin County Health Officer Matt Kelley said recent wastewater sampling results show an increased amount of the novel coronavirus in the gateway community.

“The wastewater sampling does not currently help us know how many people may be carrying the virus, but it does establish an important baseline from which to measure results later this summer and fall,” Kelley said.

Researchers from Montana State University have been working with the Gallatin City County Health Department to monitor the virus’s particles in wastewater, which are mostly intact but no longer infectious by the time they reach treatment plants. The concentration of the virus’s genetic material indicates COVID-19’s prevalence in the community.

Kelley said wastewater sampling from Bozeman and Big Sky have not shown measurable amounts of the novel coronavirus as of Thursday. He said wastewater sampling is scheduled to begin soon in Three Forks.