Covid-19 Delta variant emerging in Kansas and Missouri

NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. & CRAWFORD COUNTY, Ks. –Coronavirus cases are starting to increase again in Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas.

The Crawford county health department says they are also starting to see an emergence of the delta variant.

“We have started to see some variants, the one of concern for us is the delta variant and not because it’s more dangerous because it makes the virus more transmissible,” said Teddi Van Kam with the Crawford County Health Department.

She says this variant makes it even more important to be vaccinated against the virus.

 “We want people to be aware, we have had seven verified cases since June first that had the delta variant, and so it is here and we just want people to be aware of that fact and to reconsider becoming vaccinated,” Van Kam said.

In Newton county, they have two confirmed cases of the delta variant and first found out the variant was in the county through the sewage water.

“Have been testing of the wastewater, sewage system, and they have found some of the variants in the watershed, the sewers water, and so don’t know if that means there’s going to be an uptick in those particular variants it just really shows us that covid is here in all of its forms,” said administrator Larry Bergner.

Marc Johnson, a professor at the University of Missouri says they have been collecting water samples throughout the state since last July.

“Starting in July of last year we started just collecting wastewater samples from many different places throughout the state and just using them to measure how much SARS Covid 2 was in the wastewater,” Johnson said.

In Newton County, that’s been in Joplin and Neosho. Johnson says this method of testing is more efficient.

“With the wastewater, we get a pretty rapid readout and it’s not only rapid but it’s also more comprehensive. so you may get a person who tested positive for the India variant…so the beautiful part is it doesn’t matter if they got tested or not, as long as they are pooping in their toilet, we’ll be able to detect if they were infected,” Johnson said.