Latest COVID-19 wastewater study shows drop in Saskatoon's viral load

·1 min read
A look at the UV filtering system used at the City of Saskatoon's wastewater treatment plant. (Submitted by the City of Saskatoon - image credit)
A look at the UV filtering system used at the City of Saskatoon's wastewater treatment plant. (Submitted by the City of Saskatoon - image credit)

The latest wastewater study from the University of Saskatchewan's Global Institute for Water Security shows a decrease in Saskatoon's COVID-19 samples for the second week in a row.

On Tuesday, the institute released its latest report, which showed the most recent samples taken from Saskatoon sewage samples had shown a 76 per cent decrease in viral load compared to the week before.

This is the second week in a row that Saskatoon COVID-19 samples have been on the decrease.

The study tests for evidence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as it is shed through human waste.

Researchers can use the data to predict whether the number of new infections will be going up or down. The institute said it can take seven to 10 days for trends seen in wastewater to manifest in the province's known case numbers.

Meanwhile, the institute's study in Prince Albert showed an decrease of 41 per cent in viral RNA load, while North Battleford showed a decrease of 67 per cent in its samples.

The report noted that, due to vaccination, it was difficult to say whether the infections would translate into new cases, as some people who have the virus may not be symptomatic and therefore wouldn't get tested.

The report said the delta variant of COVID-19 was the only viral strain found in the samples.

All of the data will be shared with health authorities.

In Regina, a separate study being conducted by the University of Regina has found that COVID-19 viral levels continue to climb there. While researchers said the overall viral load is moderate, it is approaching high levels.

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