SALT LAKE CITY — The news Utahns have been waiting to hear could be coming from the most unlikely of places... the toilet.
While the state has been dealing with a record number of COVID-19 cases since the start of the year, the waste... yes, poop... of Utah residents shows that the worst may be over.
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality monitors sewage and waste water for COVID-19, and recent readings show a plateau and then downturn in the number of times the coronavirus appears.
Another chart which shows fewer areas in Utah where COVID-19 trends are increasing, with many more showing it's present, but no trend. Unlike other data where numbers could be low because of fewer people actually being tested, the DEQ readings measure waste, which never stops.
"Wastewater is the consistent measure, where it doesn't depend on the testing. We're getting that snapshot of the population," Professor Sandra McLellan of UW-Milwaukee told WISN.
Other locations around the U.S. have noticed similar trends before COVID cases began decreasing in the area.
Any optimism about a light at the end of the tunnel would be welcomed in Utah, especially after the state topped 4,000 COVID-related deaths in the state on Thursday.