The number of Covid viral copies found in Palm Springs' wastewater has jumped by millions per liter in the past couple of weeks.
The latest wastewater report was presented during Thursday's city council meeting. It revealed that the amount of measured copies of Covid has more than surpassed one million, even shooting up to nearly 7 million earlier this month. The number is well above what was reported last year, although, of course, the city has seen more visitors this year than it would have at this point last year, as vaccines still were not readily available for the community.
"We know our population can double, Christmas, New Year, if not more," said Councilmember Geoff Kors. "But as the wastewater shows and has come across, we know a lot less... a lot of people who are testing, are testing with at-home tests and those don't get reported to the county. So there are a lot more people who are positive."
This year, the number of viral copies peaked at 6,687,602 per liter, compared to last year which was a little under two million.
The amount of Covid found in the wastewater has skyrocketed post-New Year Eve, however. Going from around 1.8 million to 6.6 million.
This will well up from post-Thanksgiving, which never went above a viral load of 250,000. The Omicron Variant was first detected in Palm Springs' wastewater on Dec. 7.
"Ever since we detected that variant, the numbers have just skyrocketed," Donn Uyeno, Palm Springs' principal engineer, told the city council.
This number started to surpass 1 million just before Christmas. Post-Christmas, it skyrocketed to more than 3 million, which it still has not come down from.
Officials said the estimated number of cases based on the amount of Covid found in the wastewater is estimated to be 25,370. Prior to this recent surge, the estimated number of cases was a few thousand.
Palm Springs has a total of 5,375 coronavirus and 139 deaths. A month ago, (Dec, 13), the city had reported a total of 4,932 cases and 138 deaths.
According to a county report, Palm Springs has a current 7-day positivity of 16.4%, up from its previous rate of 7.5%
The county itself has seen cases skyrocket in the past month. Since Dec. 13, the county has reported an additional 38,842 cases, 159 deaths, and 684 COVID hospitalizations.
The case rate in the county has gone from 39 per 100K on Jan. 3 to 194.6 on Jan. 13.
Similarly, the positivity rate has gone from 10.7% on Jan. 3 to 31.9% on Jan. 13.
Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage is reporting a percent positivity of 40.6%, an all-time high.