CLAYTON, MO (AP) – Weeks after the faster-spreading British variant of the coronavirus was found in 15 sewer systems in Missouri, new tests found only one in one.
The Missouri Department of Health has examined wastewater across the state for evidence of the spread of COVID-19. The latest results, released Tuesday, found that tests could only be performed on 10 sewer systems in Missouri as COVID-19 particles decreased.
Of the 10 tested, only the Coldwater Creek system in St. Louis County indicated the presence of the British variant, the health department said.
Tests in February found that 15 out of 23 systems tested in Missouri showed evidence of the British variant, which was first discovered in the United States in December.
The state listed 449 newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus and two new deaths on Wednesday. Missouri has reported 481,694 confirmed cases and 8,297 deaths since the pandemic began.
Kansas City health professionals have concerns about the state-provided race and ethnicity data on COVID-19 vaccinations for Black and Latino residents.
Kansas City health officials said KCUR that the data presented by the state health department on who received gunfire is incomplete and does not inform the public or guide vaccination efforts.
“It’s really crazy and extremely frustrating that this is not a transparent process, and we’re staying here to piece information together if we’re just trying to save human life,” said Melissa Robinson, Kansas City councilor who serves as the executive director the Black Health Care Coalition said.
The state’s COVID-19 website provides vaccination dates broken down by race and ethnicity. But Kansas City officials say the data is full of gaps.
“If you have all these unknowns and you suspect the data is being reported correctly in the first place, why post it on a website when you know it is not true?” asked Dr. Rex Archer, director of the Kansas City Health Department.
Archer said various aspects of the data made it unreliable. For example, ethnicity data showing whether someone is Hispanic is provided to less than 17% of people who have received gunfire. Racial data are now missing for about a quarter of the more than 1 million Missouri residents who have received gunfire.
Missouri Department of Health spokeswoman Lisa Cox said the department’s data team was “working to make this information more available.”
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