Sask. researchers continue to see downward trends in COVID-19 wastewater testing

·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 most recent COVID-19 wastewater study from the University of Saskatchewan shows a drop in the amount of COVID-19 virus in sewage samples taken from Saskatoon, North Battleford and Prince Albert.

The Global Institute for Water Security's report released Monday afternoon showed a decrease of 55.8 per cent in viral RNA (Ribonucleic acid) in Prince Albert's wastewater samples compared to the previous reporting period.

The most recent testing period for the city was from Nov. 16 through Nov. 22.

The decrease indicates a potential decrease of coronavirus infections in the city.

Global Institute for Water Security
Global Institute for Water Security

Similarly, North Battleford's wastewater showed a 12.8 per cent decline from Nov. 16 to Nov. 21.

Saskatoon showed the smallest decline with 7.6 per cent from Nov. 18 through Nov. 24.

All results are based on the average of three individual daily measurements during these reporting periods compared to the weekly average of the previous reporting period, said the Global Institute for Water Security.

The results from the three cities cannot directly be compared due to different wastewater management workflows, analytical methods and wastewater samples, said the institute.

The report said that due to vaccinations, it's difficult to predict whether infections will result in higher reported case rates.

Delta is now the only variant observed in wastewater samples from Saskatchewan, according to the research team.

The team says it's no longer screening for the alpha and gamma variants of concern, because they were last detected in the three cities in August.

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