Analysis of Thessaloniki’s sewage has on Friday confirmed an increase in the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 in the community, based on the latest measurements taken in a study conducted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the city’s water board EYATh, in collaboration with the Central Macedonia Region.
Since the variant was first detected in the city’s sewage on December 19, there has been an increase in the amounts of the highly-transmissible variant up until December 22, while the last five measurements taken show signs of an overall increase in the SARS-CoV-2 viral load.
This appears to have stopped a gradual decline in the viral load observed in the previous three weeks, after the fourth wave peaked on November 25.
Samples taken on Tuesday and Wednesday were marginally stable (+16 pct) compared with the average of the two immediately preceding measurements on Sunday and Monday and stable (-5 pct) in relation to the average of Tuesday and Wednesday last week.
“The slow decline in the viral load in the sewage of the previous period appears to have stopped, while the levels are still high and the hospitals in the city are full. Despite being within the margin for uncertainty, the average measurements already show signs of a rising trend,” AUTH Rector Professor Nikos Papaioannou, who is in charge of the study, told state-run news agency AMNA.
“Given the presence of the Omicron variant and the increase of movements and social interactions at Christmas, a further increase in the spread of the virus in Thessaloniki seems very likely.”