Newest waste water data indicates explosion in COVID viral load in North Battleford, Prince Albert

·2 min read
A researcher samples sewage for COVID-19. (CBC - image credit)
A researcher samples sewage for COVID-19. (CBC - image credit)

The University of Saskatchewan's waste water statistics have been updated, and they show a huge rise in COVID-19 viral load in each of the three cities it monitors: Saskatoon, North Battleford and Prince Albert.

Saskatoon's numbers were up 172 per cent, based on averages of two individual daily measurements in this reporting period, which went up to Jan. 2, according to the University of Saskatchewan's reporting on its website.

That was compared to the weekly average of the previous week.

Omicron was measured as the most common coronavirus strain in Saskatoon, making up more than 95 per cent of the viral load.

The waste water in North Battleford saw an increase of 3,521 per cent based on the average of three individual daily measurements in the reporting period, which went up to Jan. 3.

That's compared to the weekly average of the previous reporting period, which the site said are samples from Dec. 15, 17 and 19.

The Delta variant was still present in North Battleford waste water, but Omicron was the most common variant, making up just about 70 per cent of the overall viral load, the report said.

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The viral load in Prince Albert's wastewater increased by 6,078 per cent in this reporting period, which was up until Jan. 4.

Delta was also still present in that city, but Omicron made up an average of around 84 per cent of the overall viral load.

All of these numbers are shared with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and other health authorities in the province.

Increases of viral load in the wastewater can be roughly translated into potential increases in cases in the following seven to 10 days.

"It is important to note that the magnitudes of these changes are not always proportional, i.e., a four-fold increase in the viral signal does not always correspond to a four-fold increase in case numbers; it should rather be seen as a gauge for the direction of change," information on the waste water data site reads, in part.

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